Connacht have announced their team to play Leinster in the second installment of their back-to-back festive interprovincial derbies. Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 match at the RDS will get underway at 7.45pm.
The westerners’ head coach Eric Elwood has made four personnel changes to the starting line-up as they pursue a season’s double over the European champions after defeating them 34-6 at the Sportsground in September.
The selected team sees winger Matt Healy earn his first senior start and cap for the province. The 23-year-old joined Connacht this season and has made a notable impression with Connacht Eagles in their inaugural British & Irish Cup campaign.
Danie Poolman moves to the right wing, making way for the fit-again Eoin Griffin who resumes his centre partnership with David McSharry.
In the pack, Denis Buckley returns to the loosehead spot alongside hooker Jason Harris-Wright and Nathan White, who continues as the province’s stand-in captain.
Michael Swift, who returned from injury last weekend when coming off the bench against Munster, will partner George Naoupu in the second row.
Regular skipper Gavin Duffy, Willie Faloon, John Muldoon, Frank Murphy and Miah Nikora are all currently on the province’s injury list, but centre Kyle Tonetti is now back in contention after receiving treatment for a troublesome hamstring injury in Germany.
CONNACHT (v Leinster): Robbie Henshaw; Danie Poolman, Eoin Griffin, David McSharry, Matt Healy; Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Jason Harris-Wright, Nathan White (capt), Michael Swift, George Naoupu, Andrew Browne, Johnny O’Connor, Eoin McKeon.
Replacements: Ethienne Reynecke, Brett Wilkinson, Ronan Loughney, Michael Kearney, Eoghan Grace, Paul O’Donohoe, Matthew Jarvis, Tiernan O’Halloran.