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Eight Changes For Connacht

Eight Changes For Connacht

The Connacht team to play Leinster at the Sportsground in Wednesday’s refixed Magners League derby tie (kick-off 7.45pm) has been selected.

The selected Connacht team shows eight changes to the side that started last Sunday’s 18-12 loss to Munster.

Brian Tuohy, Aidan Wynne, Conor O’Loughlin and Miah Nikora come into the back-line.

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Up front, Ronan Loughney, Robbie Morris, Mike McCarthy and Mike McComish return to the starting fifteen.

Team captain John Muldoon has recovered from a groin injury to take his place in the back row, but centre Niva Ta’auso (knee), scrum half Frank Murphy (ankle), prop Jamie Hagan (back) and winger Liam Bibo (hamstring) are unavailable.

With another Magners League game away to the Scarlets on the agenda this weekend, and the crunch Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final against Toulon fast approaching, Connacht coach Michael Bradley is understandably keen to manage his resources well.

“At this stage its a case of who is available to us. In their own rights the Munster match on Sunday and the Leinster match tomorrow are big games for us and we will putting our best foot forward without putting ourselves under undue pressure in terms of losing people for the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final,” he admitted.

“I think we probably had enough opportunities against Munster – just enough – over the full 80 minutes, especially in the last 10 minutes to pull off an unlikely victory on the basis of how we played.

“But Munster on the day were better. They dominated the breakdown, 22 turnovers, you lose most games if you have 22 turnovers.

“The week before against Bourgoin we were good except for a period in the second half, but Munster started off very well and put us under pressure for most of the match.

“In the latter half of the second half we started winning quick ball and that’s the key to our game-plan. If we manage to do that against Leinster, it will make for an exciting game.”

Commenting on his side’s qualification hopes for the Heineken Cup, Bradley added: “We still have four options alive, so I’ll take that. With three matches to go in the Magners League and a (European) semi-final and a possible final, spirits are high.

“Matches are coming quick and fast and the competition is extremely tough, but it’s a great position to be in.

“The lads got over Sunday relatively quickly and we have to do that. Leinster is a good way to refocus the minds, then the Scarlets, Toulon and Ulster.”

CONNACHT (v Leinster): Gavin Duffy; Brian Tuohy, Troy Nathan, Aidan Wynne, Fionn Carr; Miah Nikora, Conor O’Loughlin; Ronan Loughney, Sean Cronin, Robbie Morris, Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy, John Muldoon (capt), Mike McComish, George Naoupu.

Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Brett Wilkinson, Bernie Upton, Andrew Browne, Johnny O’Connor, Kieran Campbell, Ian Keatley.