The Connacht team to face Glasgow Warriors in Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 encounter at the Sportsground (kick-off 5pm) has been named. There are four changes to the starting line-up that lined out against Leinster last weekend.
David McSharry returns to the fray for his first start in ten months and is named at inside centre. The 23-year-old marked his return from injury last month by coming on as a replacement in the 33-6 Heineken Cup victory over Zebre.
Joining McSharry in the centre is 20-year-old Darragh Leader who made his first senior appearance away to the Ospreys last season. The utility back has impressed the management through his performances in training and with the Connacht Eagles.
Connacht’s leading try scorer Fionn Carr is named on the right wing in a back-three featuring Gavin Duffy and Matt Healy. Up front, Jason Harris-Wright will start as hooker in his 25th appearance for the province.
The replacements bench includes experienced tighthead prop Nathan White who returns after a three-week absence due to injury. Michael Kearney is also included in the matchday squad and could make his seasonal debut.
Commenting on the team selection, the westerners’ head coach Pat Lam said: “I’m delighted to be able to give Dave McSharry a start after a long road to recovery for him. And with our regular outside centres unavailable, young Academy back Darragh Leader gets a chance to start which we’re all looking forward to.
“Once again, it’s been a disruptive week with more players being added to our ever-growing injury list.
“Losing Sean Henry, Andrew Browne, Aaron Conneely and Danie Poolman to injury and Robbie Henshaw to the Ireland camp has meant that we’ve had to dig deep as a group.
“On a positive note, it’s a big boost to have Jason and Nathan back in the squad. We’ve been really pleased with the form of our props, Rodney (Ah You) and Brett (Wilkinson), in the last number of weeks and so they’ll start again tomorrow with Nathan on the bench.”
He added: “Glasgow are at the top end of the table and are a team who have been consistently improving the last number of years. I witnessed their last visit in May when I had first arrived here.
“They were an impressive outfit and very clinical in beating us. They are one of the best defensive outfits in the competition and will punish any errors.
“But we have been building and building on the performances and fight of the last few weeks and are really looking forward to this clash.”
Kick-off is at 5pm and the only way to get in on the action is to get down to the Sportsground. Tickets start at €;20 for adults and €;5 for all juniors and are available from tickets.ie, the Connacht Rugby office and Centra and SuperValu stores province-wide.
CONNACHT (v Glasgow Warriors): Gavin Duffy; Fionn Carr, Darragh Leader, David McSharry, Matt Healy; Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion; Brett Wilkinson, Jason Harris-Wright, Rodney Ah You, Michael Swift (capt), Craig Clarke, Mata Fifita, Jake Heenan, George Naoupu.
Replacements: David Heffernan, JP Cooney, Nathan White, Aly Muldowney, Michael Kearney, Paul O’Donohoe, Craig Ronaldson, Tiernan O’Halloran.