Paul Warwick and Brett Sturgess are back in the Connacht starting line-up as the westerners hope to halt their losing run at the Sportsground.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, October 13
CONNACHT v NEWPORT-GWENT DRAGONS, The Sportsground, 6.30pm
Team News: Connacht coach Michael Bradley has made two changes to the team that started against Ulster last Friday for this week's visit of the Dragons to Galway.
Australian Paul Warwick, who scored 12 points in the 24-17 loss to Ulster, comes into the line-up at outside centre with prop Brett Sturgess, a summer recruit from Northampton, starting in the front row.
Warwick's call-up sees Darren Yapp move to the left wing and Keith Matthews drop to the bench. Sturgess will make his third start of the season, coming in on the tighthead side as Ireland 'A' prop Ray Hogan moves to loosehead. South African Brett Wilkinson has been named on the bench.
Flanker Matt Lacey has been ruled out with a shoulder injury and his spot in the replacements has gone to Brendan O'Connor.
Meanwhile, the Dragons have made two changes to the side that beat Guinness Premiership outfit Northampton in the EDF Energy Cup last Saturday.
Gareth Wyatt is ruled out with a rib injury so Richard Fussell is selected on the right wing, while prop Rhys Thomas is suffering from a chest injury and is replaced by Lee Harrison.
USA international duo Mike Hercus and Paul Emerick rejoined the Welsh Region's squad on Tuesday after being on Test match duty and they are included amongst the replacements.
Connacht: Daniel Riordan; Matt Mostyn, Paul Warwick, Gavin Williams, Darren Yapp; Mark McHugh, Chris Keane; Ray Hogan, John Fogarty (capt), Brett Sturgess, David Gannon, Andrew Farley, John Muldoon, Ray Ofisa, Colm Rigney.
Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Brett Wilkinson, Michael Swift, Brendan O'Connor, Tom Tierney, Keith Matthews, Ted Robinson.
Dragons: Kevin Morgan; Richard Fussell, Nathan Brew, Ashley Smith, Aled Brew; Ceri Sweeney, Gareth Cooper; Adam Black, Ben Daly, Lee Harrison, Ian Gough, Peter Sidoli, Colin Charvis, Jamie Ringer, Nic Fitisemanu.
Replacements: Kieran Crawford, Jamie Corsi, Luke Charteris, Michael Owen, Paul Emerick, Mike Hercus, Alex Walker.
Referee: Andrew Macpherson (Scotland)
Touch Judges: Marshall Kilgore, Alan McDowell (both Ireland)
PREVIOUS LEAGUE MEETINGS:
November 2003 - Dragons 28 Connacht 19, Rodney Parade
May 2004 - Connacht 14 Dragons 32, The Sportsground
November 2004 - Connacht 19 Dragons 14, The Sportsground
April 2005 - Dragons 24 Connacht 19, Rodney Parade
January 2006 - Dragons 27 Connacht 19, Rodney Parade
April 2006 - Connacht 15 Dragons 10, The Sportsground
- Connacht began the season with back-to-back wins in the Magners League against the Reivers and the Ospreys but have not won since. The westerners are at home for the eighth time in their last nine league matches
- The Dragons have won successive away games in the league in Glasgow and at the Reivers and are gunning for three wins in-a-row away from home in the competition for the first time since October 2004
- The Dragons have lost on their last eight visits to Ireland since beating Ulster 28-21 at Ravenhill in October 2004. The last four encounters between the two sides have gone in favour of the home team on the day
- Mark McHugh, who is second top scorer in the league currently with 66 points, kicked five penalties when the sides last met at the Sportsground in April, securing a 15-10 win for Connacht
- Connacht winger Matt Mostyn has scored three tries in the sides' six previous encounters. The Dragons' Hal Luscombe, Ben Breeze, Kevin Morgan and Jason Forster, who was previously the league's record try scorer, have all grabbed two tries apiece against Connacht since the initial meeting in 2003
- Welsh international Ceri Sweeney has top-scored for the Dragons so far this season with 53 points (1 try, 6 conversions, 11 penalties and 1 drop goal). McHugh's 66 points have come via 1 try, 5 conversions and 17 penalties. The former Ireland back boasts a kicking rate of 78.57% (22 successes out of 28)
- The sides' top try scorers this season - Mostyn and Aled Brew - have both grabbed three tries to date, but Connacht are well out in front in terms of sin-binnings. Michael Bradley's outfit have suffered from six yellow cards since the league's start last month - McHugh has been binned twice. Prop Adam Black is the only Dragons player to have seen yellow