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Connacht Make Five Changes

Connacht Make Five Changes

Connacht coach Michael Bradley has made five changes to the province’s team for their St. Patrick’s Day Magners League clash with the Newport Gwent Dragons at the Sportsground (kick-off 6.30pm).

Winger Liam Bibo, centre Niva Ta’auso and scrum half Conor O’Loughlin come into the Connacht back-line.

Adrian Flavin takes over at hooker from Sean Cronin, who is on international duty for Ireland’s final RBS 6 Nations game against Scotland, while Ray Ofisa also returns in the back row.

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Tickets which were purchased for this game, which was called off on January 8 because of frost and snow, will be valid for the game on St. Patrick’s Day.

The Newport Gwent Dragons are unbeaten in their last four matches in all competitions, including their impressive 31-22 dismissal of defending Magners League champions Munster earlier this month.

But Connacht have not lost at the Sportsground since September and they have beaten the Dragons on the last two occasions the sides met in Galway – 22-7 in September 2007 and 39-17 in April 2009.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s game, Connacht coach Michael Bradley said: “They had an excellent performance against Munster. I think it’s probably the best result they’ve had in a couple of years in the Magners League.

“It sets them up nicely in terms of an opportunity to secure one of the Welsh positions in the Heineken Cup, and they’ll be coming here with an awful lot of confidence.

“Having said that, this fixture has gone to the home side predominantly in the last three or four years.

“Obviously, with our performance against the Ospreys three weeks ago and the most recent one against Glasgow being disappointing in terms of not getting a win, this has become a huge game for us and we’ll be treating it like so.”

CONNACHT (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Gavin Duffy; Liam Bibo, Niva Ta’auso, Keith Matthews, Fionn Carr; Ian Keatley, Conor O’Loughlin; Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Jamie Hagan, Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy, John Muldoon (capt), Ray Ofisa, George Naoupu.

Replacements: Ronan Loughney, Robbie Morris, Bernie Upton, Mike McComish, Kieran Campbell, Miah Nikora, Aidan Wynne.