Jarrad Butler is poised to make his 100th appearance for Connacht Rugby as the EPCR Challenge Cup side travel to Ospreys in the United Rugby Championship (URC) on Saturday.
The Australian back-row forward, who will be looking to add to his first try in EPCR competitions last season when Connacht kick off their EPCR Challenge Cup Pool A campaign at home to Newcastle Falcons on December 10, is one of nine changes to the side that started last Friday’s 36-14 victory over Scarlets.
Hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin and prop Jack Aungier come into the front row, with Oisín Dowling and Gavin Thornbury forming a new-look second row and Shamus Hurley-Langton called in at flanker.
Alex Wootton and John Porch start on either wing, with Tom Farrell at outside centre and Caolin Blade at scrum-half.
Elsewhere in the URC on Saturday, Dragons and Zebre Parma face off in an all-EPCR Challenge Cup encounter at Rodney Parade.
With international commitments affecting many clubs’ selections this weekend, the duo’s starting sides are much-changed from their games last weekend.
Dragons bring prop Aki Seiuli, hooker Elliot Dee and locks Joe Davies and Sean Lonsdale into their pack, while Sam Davies shifts to fly-half to form a new-look half-back pairing with the returning Rhodri Williams.
Angus O’Brien slots in at full-back, with Max Clark at centre and wing David Richards making his first start for the Welsh region.
Is this the season that sees @connachtrugby finally reach a #ChallengeCupRugby final?
They’ve fallen at the semi-final stage 3️⃣ times previously, read our club preview and see if you think they could go one further ➡️ https://t.co/iKrq6sCgeO pic.twitter.com/m0YubXhyX4
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) October 19, 2022
South African hooker Jacques Du Toit comes in to captain Zebre, with prop Matteo Nocera, lock Andrea Zambonin, and flankers Iacopo Bianchi and David Ruggeri the other alterations in the forwards.
Full-back Richard Kriel, wing Latu Latunipulu and scrum-half Chris Cook are the fresh faces in the backs.
EPCR Challenge Cup newcomers Emirates Lions are largely unchanged from their 39-27 defeat to Ulster Rugby a fortnight ago as they welcome DHL Stormers in a local derby. Prop Morgan Naude replaces Sti Sithole on the bench in a single enforced change.
Bristol Bears are the only EPCR Challenge Cup team involved in Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership fixtures – they visit Heineken Champions Cup counterparts Northampton Saints.
Andy Uren is in at scrum-half for the visitors, while Jake Woolmore, Harry Thacker and Max Lahiff form a new-look front row and Magnus Bradbury, Sam Lewis and Fitz Harding complete an all-changed back row.
Jay Tyack could make his Bristol debut from the bench, with Chris Vui also among the replacements and set to make his 100th appearance for the club.
Saturday’s TOP 14 action sees several EPCR Challenge Cup sides take on Heineken Champions Cup opponents, with CA Brive, USAP and Aviron Bayonnais hosting Racing 92, Lyon and Stade Toulousain respectively.
Section Paloise travel to Stade Rochelais while Stade Français Paris are away at Montpellier Hérault Rugby.
Cardiff Rugby and RC Toulon are the two EPCR Challenge Cup contenders featuring on Sunday. Cardiff entertain Edinburgh Rugby in the URC while Toulon visit Union Bordeaux-Bègles in the TOP 14.