Connacht head coach Eric Elwood has announced his team and replacements for the province’s final pre-season friendly against Saracens at the HAC Grounds in London on Thursday (kick-off 6.45pm).
The selected Connacht team shows six changes to the side that took on an Ireland Select XV at Donnybrook last Thursday night.
In the pack, hooker Ethienne Reynecke will line up against his former club, the fit-again Johnny O’Connor makes his return to the starting line-up and Mike McCarthy is back from Ireland training to start in the second row.
Props Dylan Rogers and Rodney Ah You remain in the front row following their impressive displays against the Irish selection last week.
Connacht’s most-capped player, Michael Swift, partners McCarthy at lock, while the back row is completed by the experienced John Muldoon and George Naoupu.
The new half-back pairing of Frank Murphy and Welsh youngster Matthew Jarvis heads up a slightly changed back-line.
With Henry Fa’afili and Eoin Griffin in the centre, Tiernan O’Halloran moves to the right wing to replace Mark McCrea, Brian Tuohy is stationed on the other wing and the side will be captained by full-back Gavin Duffy.
This is the westerners’ final pre-season match before the start of the newly-launched RaboDirect PRO12, which begins for Eric Elwood’s men with an away trip to Benetton Treviso on Saturday, September 3.
CONNACHT (v Saracens): Gavin Duffy (capt); Tiernan O’Halloran, Eoin Griffin, Henry Fa’afili, Brian Tuohy; Matthew Jarvis, Frank Murphy; Dylan Rogers, Ethienne Reynecke, Rodney Ah You, Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy, John Muldoon, Johnny O’Connor, George Naoupu.
Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Denis Buckley, Jamie Stephens, Thomas Anderson, Ray Ofisa, Paul O’Donohoe, Niall O’Connor, David McSharry.