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Big occasion for Masterson brothers as they’re both named to start for Connacht against European giants Racing 92

Sean Masterson (left) with his brother Eoghan after the two played with Connacht against Treviso in the Guinness Pro14 in Galway last season

Rugby’s European Champions Cup gets underway this weekend and there will be a Laois involvement in Paris as the Masterson brothers from Portlaoise line out alongside each other for Connacht against Racing 92 on Sunday.

Younger brother Sean, who is in his first year as a professional, will make his European debut and start in the backrow in what will just be his sixth appearance in total.

The more experienced Eoghan, who is closing in on 100 appearances for the province, packs down in the second row alongside Ultan Dillane.

While the brothers have been in squads together previously, this will only be their second time to start together.

Both Eoghan and Sean started their underage playing days with Portlaoise before moving into the Connacht academy.

“In the next season I’d love to put a marker down and get a position in the first 15,” said Sean earlier this year on the LaoisToday Talking Sport Podcast.

“(You want to try) play some good rugby, hopefully Connacht will play some good rugby too and that will help you progress as well. I want to try and get a starting position in the next year.

“Try and nail it down, be diligent, do all the right things and hopefully your opportunities will come from that.”

Also named on the Connacht starting team this weekend is former Knockbeg College student Tom Daly. The Carlow man starts in the centre alongside Sammy Arnold as Ireland international Bundee Aki is kept in reserve.

Connacht have won three of their last four league games – against Zebre, Treviso and Edinburgh – but Racing, European winners in 2018, will be a considerable step up.

Among their star-studded line up is former Irish internationals Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo.

The other games involving Irish teams this weekend see Munster host Harlequins on Sunday, Ulster are at home to Toulouse on Friday night and Leinster are away to Montpellier on Saturday.

You can listen to the interview with Eoghan and Sean Masterson in full here or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

SEE ALSO – Check out more Podcasts from LaoisToday here

SEE ALSO – Ireland cap still the aim for Masterson as rugby eyes a return to action

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.