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Enisei-STM v Connacht preview: Irish side head to Russia for Challenge Cup opener

  • Connacht makes long trip to Russia to face Enisei-STM in their European Challenge Cup opener: 08:00 kick-off
  • The Siberian side makes history as first Russian side to take part in the continental competition.
  • AJ MacGinty and Peter Robb make their fist starts for the Irish province
Siberia side Enisei-STM will make history on Saturday morning as they by become the first Russian team to take part in European competition when they face Connacht.

The Irish side will know not to underestimate the hosts, who advanced through the qualifying rounds with an aggregate 63-3 win over Romania’s Baia Mare.

Connacht had 16 hours of travel in what will be by far the longest trip they make throughout 2015/16 season with the Pool One opener will take place in the city of Krasnoyarsk.

Academy centre Peter Robb makes his debut while USA international fly-half AJ MacGinty, who impressed during the Rugby World Cup, starts for the first time for the Irish province.


RUCK PREDICTS

On Saturday it could hit as low as -22 degrees, however, despite the testing condition and temperatures they will face, the international pedigree of the visitors starting XV should be enough to see them through comfortably. Connacht by 20


PLAYERS TO WATCH

 Enisei-STM: Davit Kacharava


Connacht: AJ MacGinty


Enisei-STM: Iurii Kushnarev; Mikhail Babaev, David Kacharava, Dmitrii Gerasimov, Denis Simplikevich; Ramil Gaisin, Jurijs Baranovs (c); Aleksandr Bezverkhov, Stanislav Selskii, Innokentiy Zykov, Uldis Saulite, Viacheslav Krasylnyk, Vitalii Orlov, Andrey Temnov, Dmitrii Krotov
Replacements: Nazir Gasanov, Andrei Polivalov, Evgenii Pronenko, Evgeny Elgin, Sergey Kuzmenko, Alexey Shcherban, Dmitriy Simonov, Anton Rudoi

Connacht Rugby: Darragh Leader; Rory Parata, Bundee Aki, Peter Robb, Niyi Adeolokun; AJ MacGinty, Ian Porter; Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Aly Muldowney, John Muldoon, James Connolly, George Naoupu
Replacements: David Heffernan, Ronan Loughney, Conan O’Donnell, Danny Qualter, Sean O’Brien, Caolin Blade, Jack Carty, Craig Ronaldson