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Connacht Make Three Changes For League Derby

Connacht Make Three Changes For League Derby

Michael Bradley has made three changes and one positional switch to the Connacht team for Friday’s Magners League derby clash with Leinster at the Sportsground (kick-off 7.30pm).

Keith Matthews returns to the westerners’ starting line-up for the first time since November, having recovered from an ankle injury sustained against Cetransa El Salvador. He has been selected on the right wing.

Conor O’Loughlin comes back in at scrum half, while, in the forwards, John Muldoon moves to blindside flanker in place of the injured Michael McCarthy, with Colm Rigney being promoted back into the side at number 8.

Coach Michael Bradley, whose side sit bottom of the league table, said: “We came back after losing to Ulster to overcome Glasgow and we will do it again. This side has ample character.

“Both ourselves and Leinster will be looking for a lot out of the fixture. They will be coming here looking to push their advantage at the top, but their visits to Galway have always produced close, exciting rugby. It’s a local derby and we always look forward to the contests against the other provinces.”

Connacht’s chances of pulling off the win have not been helped by a lengthening injury list. John Hearty (hip), the aforementioned McCarthy (shoulder), Daniel Riordan (hamstring), Ofisa Treviranus (leg) and Darren Yapp (calf) are all currently sidelined.

CONNACHT (v Leinster): Gavin Duffy; Keith Matthews, Matt Mostyn, Mel Deane, Aidan Wynne; Andy Dunne, Conor O’Loughlin; Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Robbie Morris, Michael Swift, Andrew Farley (capt), John Muldoon, Johnny O’Connor, Colm Rigney.

Replacements: Joey Merrigan, Ronan Loughney, David Gannon, Ray Ofisa, Conor McPhillips, Tim Donnelly, Liam Bibo.