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Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

16.15 22 Nov 2019


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Bundee Aki is not part of the Connacht squad for their Heineken Champions Cup trip to Toulouse.

The Ireland centre has been subject of speculation about a move away from the western province in recent weeks.

Quinn Roux is back to captain the side from the second row while Matt Healy will start at full-back.

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Roux will play alongside Ultan Dillane in the second row.

Hooker Dave Heffernan and loosehead Peter McCabe are the newcomers to the front-row from last week's win over Montpellier.

Andy Friend's refreshed his back row as well, with Eoghan Masterson in at blindside, Colby Fainga'a starting on the openside and Robin Copeland holding firm at number-8.

Scrum-half Caolin Blade will make his 100th appearance for Connacht, forming a half-back partnership with Conor Fitzgerald.

Healy reverting to full-back allows Tom Farrell to partner Tom Daly in midfield, with Kyle Godwin and John Porch on the wings.

Friend says the Montpellier win at the Sportsground will be the springboard to another big performance in France, "We were happy with the character shown against Montpellier but we know we will need to improve as we travel away to Toulouse.

"We have seen the quality they have in the past few seasons in this competition and winning the Top 14 in France.

"However we are travelling with a squad that has a huge sense of belief that we can win the game on Saturday."

The Connacht head coach says the short gap between games means he had to freshen things up this week, "We are boosted this week with a number of players returning from injury and the real positive for us is that with a six-day turnaround from the Montpellier game we have players coming in fresh into the squad.

"Saturday is another challenge for us but one we are really looking forward to."


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Andy Friend Bundee Aki Caolin Blade Connacht Conor Fitzgerald Heineken Champions Cup Matt Healy Montpellier Quinn Roux Tom Farrell Toulouse

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