Connacht head coach Eric Elwood has revealed his team and replacements for Friday’s RaboDirect PRO12 game against Edinburgh at Murrayfield (kick-off 7.30pm).
With just two changes to the starting line-up and one on the bench, the Connacht squad remains largely similar to that which has won the first two games of the RaboDirect PRO12 campaign.
Recent signing Ethienne Reynecke starts at hooker with Adrian Flavin moving to the bench, and Johnny O’Connor replaces Ray Ofisa at openside flanker.
Ofisa will take the place of Thomas Anderson on the bench, while Dylan Rogers replaces Stewart Maguire as the reserve tighthead prop.
Michael ‘Swifty’ Swift will become the first Connacht player to reach 200 caps this weekend. The 6ft 5in, 119kg second row joined Connacht in 2000.
He holds the record number of caps in the Amlin Challenge Cup (62) and is just five matches short of the Cardiff Blues’ Deiniol Jones (135), who is the league’s record caps holder.
Connacht head to Murrayfield having never beaten Edinburgh there and head coach Eric Elwood knows the challenge that awaits them.
Looking forward to taking on former Connacht boss Michael Bradley, who is the new Edinburgh coach this season, Elwood said: “‘Brads’ knows the lads inside out as he knows me and he knows what we are capable of.
“He knows our weaknesses and I think he might have a couple of surprises up his sleeves, but we would like to think we might have a couple of our own.
“They will be under pressure, but we’ve never won in Murrayfield and we are going there to try and rectify that.”
Connacht make the trip to the Scottish capital with two wins from two, giving them their best start to a league campaign since 2002. They currently lie fifth in the table.
CONNACHT (v Edinburgh): Gavin Duffy (capt), Mark McCrea, Eoin Griffin, Henry Fa’afili, Tiernan O’Halloran; Matthew Jarvis, Frank Murphy; Ronan Loughney, Ethienne Reynecke, Rodney Ah You, Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy, John Muldoon, Johnny O’Connor, George Naoupu.
Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Brett Wilkinson, Dylan Rogers, David Gannon, Ray Ofisa, Paul O’Donohoe, Niall O’Connor, Brian Tuohy.