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Muldoon Resumes In Connacht Back Row

Muldoon Resumes In Connacht Back Row

Flanker John Muldoon returns to the starting line-up for Connacht this weekend for the westerners’ Heineken Cup round 3 encounter with Toulouse.

The province’s second most-capped player is one of four starters to return to Stade Ernest Wallon since the January 2012 clash during Connacht’s maiden Heineken Cup season.

John Muldoon has been named in the back row alongside Jake Heenan and number 8 George Naoupu, who also returns to the French city this weekend.

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Returnee Brett Wilkinson represents the third change up front, the loosehead prop coming in for the injured Ronan Loughney.

Craig Clarke, on what will be his 10th start for Connacht, will captain the side on Sunday, partnered by Michael Kearney in the second row.

In the backs, the 20-year-old Robbie Henshaw retains his spot at full-back while Dan Parks and Kieran Marmion make up the half-back pairing.

Commenting on the team selection and the task of facing the French giants, Connacht head coach Pat Lam said: “Selection this week was difficult because of the performance (in Edinburgh) last week where we know, as a team, we didn’t capitalise on the many opportunities we had and then capitulating in the final five minutes, where we conceded 21 points.

“We’ve decided to give the same group an opportunity to put things right after last week. With injuries to Aly (Muldowney) and Ronan (Loughney) and Eoin (McKeon) being unavailable to train at the start of the week, we have the experience of John, Brett and George coming in to the starting fifteen.

“This is probably the biggest challenge we face as a team, playing a side as successful as Toulouse in their back yard.

“We understand what we’re up against and after our performance last week, I’ve seen a real determination and doggedness by everyone to step up.”

CONNACHT (v Toulouse): Robbie Henshaw; Fionn Carr, Eoin Griffin, David McSharry, Matt Healy; Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion; Brett Wilkinson, Sean Henry, Nathan White, Michael Kearney, Craig Clarke (capt), John Muldoon, Jake Heenan, George Naoupu.

Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Denis Buckley, Rodney Ah You, Michael Swift, Eoin McKeon, Frank Murphy, Craig Ronaldson, Gavin Duffy.