Paul Boyle leads Connacht in Ospreys fixture

Date published: November 27 2020

Paul Boyle will lead out Connacht as captain for the first time on Saturday after he was named as skipper for the PRO14 clash with Ospreys at The Sportsground.

The 23-year-old has enjoyed a brilliant rise through the Connacht ranks, making his debut as a Year 1 Academy player against Munster in January 2018. He was then rewarded with his first professional contract midway through the 2018/19 season and has gone on to play 44 times for the province.

Boyle captains the side from the number eight position and will be flanked by Sean O’Brien and Conor Oliver at the back of the scrum.

The front five is unchanged from the side that defeated Zebre last Sunday, with Shane Delahunt starting at hooker alongside props Denis Buckley and Jack Aungier, and Eoghan Masterson pairing up with Gavin Thornbury in the second-row.

At half-back Ballinasloe native Colm Reilly continues at scrum-half, while Conor Fitzgerald comes in for his second start of the season at fly-half. The in-form Tom Daly remains at inside centre with Sammy Arnold alongside him, and Peter Sullivan returns to the starting XV in a back three which features Alex Wootton on the opposite wing and John Porch at full-back.

Professional debut

Meanwhile, Academy player Sean O’Brien is in line to make his professional debut. The centre has been named among the replacements and could feature for the province for the first time if called upon.

For Ospreys, Dan Lydiate captains the side once again alongside young Will Griffiths and Olly Cracknell in the back-row.

Adam Beard and Rhys Davies team up in the second-row with Rhodri Jones, Ifan Phillips and Ma’afu Fia up front.

Off the bench Dewi Lake, Gareth Thomas and Tom Botha provide the front-row cover with Lloyd Ashley and Sam Cross completing the forward contingent.

Mat Protheore retains the full-back jersey and lines up alongside Luke Morgan and George North in the back three, while in the centre Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler and Keiran Williams partner up once again.

Reuben Morgan Williams and Stephen Myler are the half-backs to complete the starting line-up, with Shaun Venter, Josh Thomas and Scott Williams named as cover.

The teams:

Connacht: 15 John Porch, 14 Peter Sullivan, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Alex Wootton, 10 Conor Fitzgerald, 9 Colm Reilly, 8 Paul Boyle (c), 7 Conor Oliver, 6 Sean O’Brien, 5 Gavin Thornbury, 4 Eoghan Masterson, 3 Jack Aungier, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 19 Cian Prendergast, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Stephen Kerins, 22 Sean O’Brien, 23 Colm de Buitlear

Ospreys: 15 Mat Protheroe, 14 George North, 13 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 8 Olly Cracknell, 7 Dan Lydiate (c), 6 Will Griffiths, 5 Rhys Davies, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Ifan Phillips, 1 Rhodri Jones
Replacements: 16 Dewi Lake, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Sam Cross, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Josh Thomas, 23 Scott Williams

Date: Saturday, November 28
Venue: The Sportsground
Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Referee: Ben Blain (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Chris Busby (Ireland), Rob O’Sullivan (Ireland)
Television match official: Ollie Hodges (Ireland)