Connacht head coach Eric Elwood has announced his team to face the Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday night (kick-off 7.15pm).
Following last weekend’s heroics against play-off hopefuls Munster, the westerners have opted to make the minimum of changes with just one switch in the back-line.
Tongan international Fetu’u Vainikolo starts on the right wing with Kyle Tonetti moving to his more familiar centre berth in place of the injured Eoin Griffin. Griffin picked up a knee injury in the interprovincial clash last Saturday.
The successful half-back pairing of Frank Murphy and Miah Nikora continues. Nikora kicked 11 of Connacht’s 16 points last weekend.
Tonetti links up with Henry Fa’afili in the centre with Tiernan O’Halloran, Vainikolo and captain Gavin Duffy completing the province’s backs division.
The pack remains the same with Ireland Wolfhounds Brett Wilkinson and Ronan Loughney combining with try scorer Ethienne Reynecke in a front row unit that impressed against Munster.
Mike McCarthy and Michael Swift make up the second row and the Academy’s Michael Kearney continues his rise through the ranks at blindside flanker, joined by the abrasive Ray Ofisa and talismanic John Muldoon in the back row.
Connacht Rugby have launched their 2012/13 Season Tickets this week. Building on the success of last season’s sales, the exciting offering is loaded with value.
It provides supporters with an opportunity to see all of Connacht’s RaboDirect PRO12 home games, Heineken Cup home pool games and British & Irish Cup matches. Full details can be found on www.connachtrugby.ie.
CONNACHT (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Gavin Duffy (capt); Fetu’u Vainikolo, Kyle Tonetti, Henry Fa’afili, Tiernan O’Halloran; Miah Nikora, Frank Murphy; Brett Wilkinson, Ethienne Reynecke, Ronan Loughney, Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy, Michael Kearney, Ray Ofisa, John Muldoon.
Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Finlay Bealham, Rodney Ah You, Eoin McKeon, Eoghan Grace, Paul O’Donohoe, Matthew Jarvis, David McSharry.