Ireland World Cup squad member Gavin Duffy has been named at full-back in the Connacht team for the province’s Magners League trip to Cardiff tomorrow night (Arms Park, kick-off 7.30pm).
Connacht coach Michael Bradley has made five changes in all to the side that started last week’s disappointing 16-15 defeat at the hands of Glasgow Warriors at Firhill. Duffy’s inclusion is the only change in the backs, with Peter Durcan the player to miss out.
Up front, John Fogarty, Robbie Morris, Ray Ofisa and John Muldoon, who will captain the side, return to the starting line-up. Adrian Flavin, Ronan Loughney, Michael McCarthy and Colm Rigney all make way, with flanker McCarthy the only one to make the replacements bench.
Speaking ahead of the game, Bradley said: “We have not gone well in Cardiff for a couple of years, but the formula is the same. If we can create quick ball, then we can do reasonably well – and that’s where we have to start. Cardiff are a very strong side. They were very close to winning the Magners League last year and they’ve started this season very well.
“They play a lovely brand of rugby, they are open, and you cannot afford to give them chances in their own half as they can turn it around in the counterattack. Their set piece is also strong so it is a difficult ask for us.
“We have a couple of issues, but if we can get them right, and if we can effect our game plan, we’ll be quite confident we can be competitive. While we have not got good results in the past, the matches have been closer than the scoreline suggested,” he told the Galway Advertiser.
CONNACHT: Gavin Duffy; Ofisa Treviranus, Mel Deane, Aidan Wynne, Keith Matthews; Tim Donnelly, Conor McPhillips; Brett Wilkinson, John Fogarty, Robbie Morris, Michael Swift, David Gannon, Ray Ofisa, Johnny O’Connor, John Muldoon (capt).
Replacements: Joe Merrigan, Brian McGovern, Andrew Browne, Michael McCarthy, Conor O’Loughlin, Peter Durcan, Alipate Tuilevuka.