Connacht have announced their team and replacements for Friday’s Magners League encounter with Aironi at the Sportsground (kick-off 7.35pm).
This rescheduled fixture is the first meeting between Connacht and Italian outfit Aironi and the only Magners League match this weekend.
Connacht are on a good run of late, winning five out of their last six games in all competitions with the only loss coming at the hands of last season’s Magners League champions, the Ospreys.
Aironi, on the other hand, are still at the foot of the table but have put in some very impressive performances of late, including last weekend’s effort at Ravenhill where they put in a spirited performance against Ulster
Connacht’s selected team shows one enforced change to the side that beat Benetton Treviso 31-25 last Friday.
Hooker Sean Cronin has been selected in the Ireland squad to face Wales in the Six Nations, so Adrian Flavin returns to the westerners’ front row with Dermot Murphy added to the replacements.
The other alteration is on the bench where the province’s regular captain John Muldoon makes a welcome return after a three month lay-off with a broken arm.
Muldoon suffered the injury against Harlequins in December, and his availability is a big boost to a Connacht back row that has been outstanding of late.
With Muldoon on the bench, the side will again be captained by Galway native Johnny O’Connor. The Connacht centurion has been leading by example on the pitch since he recently assumed the captaincy, showing his tenacity at the breakdown and winning two man-of-the-match awards.
Connacht would also like to reassure fans that all tickets bought for the original fixture in December are valid for Friday’s tie.
There will be a family atmosphere on the night at the Sportsground with face painting and goodies for kids. Tickets are still available to purchase here.
CONNACHT (v Aironi Rugby): Gavin Duffy; Brian Tuohy, Niva Ta’auso, Troy Nathan, Fionn Carr; Ian Keatley, Frank Murphy; Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Jamie Hagan, Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy, Andrew Browne, Johnny O’Connor (capt), Ray Ofisa.
Replacements: Dermot Murphy, Ronan Loughney, Rodney Ah You, Bernie Upton, John Muldoon, Cillian Willis, Miah Nikora, Keith Matthews.