Connacht’s new out-half Miah Nikora will miss Friday’s pre-season friendly against Rotherham Titans at the Sportsground (kick-off 6.30pm), with his place in the starting line-up going to recent Ireland cap Ian Keatley.
Miah Nikora, who suffered a groin strain this week in training, is not being risked ahead of the start of the Magners League season, which kicks off at the Sportsground against the Ospreys on September 4.
John Muldoon, starting on the blindside, will once again captain Connacht as they finalise their preparations for the Ospreys game.
Commenting on his side’s pre-season run of matches, Muldoon told IrishRugby.ie: “It’s about getting players on the pitch and getting some game-time under your belt.
“Pre-season has been very hard, we’re training really well at the moment. It’s about getting back into the swing of things game-wise, and a lot of players need game-time – that’s what it’s all about.
“It’s not necessarily results-orientated, it’s more about what you do on the pitch. In saying that, we were very disappointed to lose the two games so far against Harlequins and Gloucester.
“But what we got out of both games was far better than just winning them.
“So hopefully what we’ve learned over the last two weeks and this Friday against Rotherham will stick to us, and that will all lead well into the Ospreys.
“That’s the number one target, trying to get ourselves prepared and to be the best we can be come the Ospreys.”
CONNACHT (v Rotherham Titans) – Gavin Duffy; Tiernan O’Halloran, Eoin Griffin, Keith Matthews, Fionn Carr; Ian Keatley, Frank Murphy; Brett Wilkinson, Sean Cronin, Jamie Hagan, David Nolan, Andrew Browne, John Muldoon (capt), Ray Ofisa, Mike McComish.
Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Dermot Murphy, Ronan Loughney, Conor Higgins, Michael Swift, Bernie Upton, Johnny O’Connor, Conor O’Loughlin, Liam Bibo, Brian Tuohy, Troy Nathan.