Connacht coach Eric Elwood has announced a 25-man squad for Saturday’s Magners League derby clash with Leinster at the Spotsground (kick-off 6.05pm).
The westerners’ squad is unchanged from last Friday’s Amlin Challenge Cup win over Pool 1 rivals Bayonne. A slight injury worry surround prop Jamie Hagan, but the former Leinster Academy player is expected to pull through.
Reflecting on the 16-13 victory over Bayonne, head coach Eric Elwood was happy with his team’s defensive efforts against the French side.
“Part of our discipline was that we couldn’t afford to give away penalties in the red zone, unfortunately we gave them that platform a couple of times. But outside that, our discipline was good,” he said.
“We did give away some cheap penalties that enabled them get into a position to put us under preasure, but thankfully we came out of it at the end.”
Elwood feels that Leinster’s pack is just as strong as Bayonne’s set of forwards and that whoever wins the battle up front on Saturday will be in a very strong position.
“If we can get parity up front and be able to mix it up with them in the pack, then that’s the winning of the game.
“Leinster have got big ball carriers, big internationals. But if our guys show the same attitude and hunger as last week then we’ll be fine.”
CONNACHT Squad (v Leinster) – Backs (11): Cillian Willis, Frank Murphy, Ian Keatley, Miah Nikora, Keith Matthews, Niva Ta’auso, Fionn Carr, Darragh Fanning, Shane Monahan, Gavin Duffy, Troy Nathan.
Forwards (14): Adrian Flavin, Sean Cronin, Jamie Hagan, Brett Wilkinson, Barry Fa’amausili, Ronan Loughney, Dermot Murphy, Michael Swift, Michael McCarthy, Andrew Browne, Bernie Upton, Johnny O’Connor, John Muldoon, Ray Ofisa.