18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
The Sunday showdown at Rodney Parade will give the Irish province the chance to get back on track after their cruel exit from the Celtic Cup in last weekend's single-point semi-final defeat at the hands of Edinburgh in Galway.
There are lots of comparisons that can be made between the Gwent Dragons and Connacht at the moment as we are both fighting to survive, said Marinos.
Their defeat at the hands of Edinburgh is only going to make them even more determined when they come to play us and we know we're going to have a real fight on our hands to maintain our unbeaten record at home.
Connacht destroyed the Neath-Swansea Ospreys on their last visit to Wales and will be hoping to repeat their 16-14 triumph of two seasons ago when they last visited Rodney Parade to play Newport.
The Celtic Cup semi-final against Edinburgh was definitely one of those games that got away from us and we really could have reached the final, said Connacht team manager John Fallon.
But we're still lying third in the Celtic League and everyone realises we have to get back on track against the Gwent Dragons. It will be a bit of a new experience for many of the players playing on a Sunday, but we've no real injury worries and everyone is looking forward to getting back into action again.
While Connacht will give the Dragons plenty to think about on the the field, they have entirely different problems off the field. Having gone into administration last week, they are set to shed up to five players this week as they slim down their squad.
But Marinos is adamant that the off-the-field difficulties the new regional side have been experiencing will not affect the performances of his team on the pitch. "Our biggest headache this season has been the board-room shenanigans that have gone on and it has been hard to keep the players focussed on the job in hand at times," admitted Marinos.
"Coaches Mike Ruddock and Clive Griffiths always said it would take six to eight weeks for us to come together as a side because we were all thrown together in the summer. They were exactly right and we are now growing together as a group.
"But it was like a knife going through your heart when we heard that some players would have to lose their jobs last week. They have put in so much hard work and effort since they joined in the summer, yet they have accepted their fate and continued to train as hard as ever with us. We will all be very, very sad to see them go.
Despite all the difficulties and uncertainties, Marinos and his squad have managed to remain unbeaten at Rodney Parade in the Celtic League and rose to fourth with their comprehensive victory over the Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park in their last outing.
Celtic League. Sun. 23rd Nov: Gwent Dragons v Connacht Rodney Parade (2.30) Ref: Malcolm Changleng (S)