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Connacht Unchanged For Derby Tie

Connacht Unchanged For Derby Tie

Connacht coach Eric Elwood has named an unchanged team for Saturday’s Magners League derby clash with Leinster at the Sportsground (kick-off 6.05pm).

The westerners’ matchday squad sees just one change on the replacements bench, Ezra Taylor replacing Andrew Browne who is ruled out through illness.

Taylor injured his knee in the opening game of the Magners League against the Newport Gwent Dragons, and is set to make his return.

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Ireland trio John Muldoon, Sean Cronin and Gavin Duffy are included in the same team that beat French high flyers Bayonne in the Amlin Challenge Cup last weekend.

Winger Darragh Fanning is set to make his full Magners League debut, while former Australia Schools and Under-19 international Barry Fa’amausili is another newcomer to league rugby on the replacements bench.

The powerfully-built prop, now 22, made his European bow for Connacht against I Cavalieri Estra recently.

Connacht are hoping to make it three home wins in-a-row over Leinster, and Eric Elwood is looking forward to his second interprovincial derby as a head coach.

“This is a derby match against Leinster, we have a decent record at home, it should be a sell-out crowd, and it has all the makings of a great match,” said Elwood, whose side drew 15-15 with Ulster last month.

“Leinster have momentum with two great wins in Europe, and they have an extra incentive because we are currently ahead of them in the league. I believe they will show us respect, and travel strong.”

Reflecting on last weekend’s defeat of Bayonne, he added: “Games are won in the forwards. They set the platform, they set the tone, the speed at the rucks, and we are looking very much to be on top.

“Last weekend the lads showed great character and a fighting spirit against a Bayonne side with a €;15.9 million budget, but we came out the right side of the result.

“Yes, if we get the performance, quality rugby, and the win, that’s the perfect scenario, but I will take winning ugly every week.”

CONNACHT (v Leinster): Gavin Duffy; Darragh Fanning, Niva Ta’auso, Keith Matthews, Fionn Carr; Ian Keatley, Frank Murphy; Brett Wilkinson, Sean Cronin, Jamie Hagan, Michael Swift, Michael McCarthy, Johnny O’Connor, Ray Ofisa, John Muldoon (capt).

Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Barry Fa’amausili, Ronan Loughney, Bernie Upton, Ezra Taylor, Cillian Willis, Miah Nikora, Troy Nathan.