Connacht coach Michael Bradley has made three changes to his side, as well as three positional switches, for the province’s Magners League derby clash with Munster at the Sportsground on Friday (kick-off 7.30pm).
Andy Dunne starts at out-half in a reshuffled back-line, which sees Keith Matthews move to inside centre, Mel Deane move to outside centre and Matt Mostyn has switched to the right wing.
In the forwards, Brett Wilkinson starts once again at loosehead prop and David Gannon starts alongside captain Andrew Farley in the second row for the first time since January.
Ireland flanker Johnny O’Connor, who picked up a knee injury in last Friday’s defeat at Edinburgh, has been passed fit to play and his presence in the team is vital, given that Michael McCarthy is suspended and his fellow back rowers Ray Ofisa (arm) and Michael Swift (kidney) are still out injured.
Dunne’s half-back partner for the Munster game, Conor O’Loughlin, is nursing a hip injury but is expected to start after undergoing a fitness test.
Australian out-half Tim Donnelly damaged his shoulder when scoring a try against Edinburgh so with Dunne starting at number 10, Connemara clubman Troy Nathan has retained his place on the bench.
Last weekend was a busy one for New Zealander Nathan as he came on to replace Donnelly and make his Magners League debut at Murrayfield and he also played for Connemara in their AIB League Division Three game against County Carlow the following day.
CONNACHT (v Munster): Gavin Duffy; Matt Mostyn, Mel Deane, Keith Matthews, Daniel Riordan; Andy Dunne, Conor O’Loughlin; Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Robbie Morris, David Gannon, Andrew Farley (capt), John Muldoon, Johnny O’Connor, Colm Rigney.
Replacements: John Fogarty, Brian McGovern, Andrew Browne, Liam Casserly, Conor McPhillips, Troy Nathan, Darren Yapp.