The Connacht team to face the Newport Gwent Dragons in Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 tie at the Sportsground (kick-off 5pm) has been named.
Head coach Pat Lam has made two changes to the team that lined out in last weekend’s Heineken Cup clash with Toulouse.
Mayo man Gavin Duffy starts on the right wing for his 170th Connacht appearance. The remainder of the back-line is unchanged for the return to PRO12 action.
Nathan White, who missed last Saturday’s game due to illness, represents the only change to the pack. Craig Clarke will captain the side, partnered by Michael Kearney in the second row.
On the bench, the 22-year-old David Heffernan has been called in as replacement hooker for the unavailable Sean Henry. Academy out-half and Eagles captain Jack Carty has also been called up.
Commenting on the team selection and this weekend’s game, Lam said: “We had a shorter week in terms of training sessions this week as we had to give the players a day off on Monday to shake off the ‘flu virus.
“We also had to plan without Craig (Ronaldson), Sean (Henry) and Frank (Murphy) who we lost to injury last week.
“With the forecasted weather conditions, back-three coverage for kicks is crucial so it’s great to bring back the experience and voice of Gavin Duffy.
“The Dragons are an improved side this year. They’re seventh in the table and it will be another tough challenge this week. We know that we need to put them under pressure right from the kick-off.
“If we bring the heart, that was so evident in our Toulouse games, to our roles in the game-plan it will give us a great opportunity to achieve the outcome we all want.”
CONNACHT (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Robbie Henshaw; Gavin Duffy, Eoin Griffin, David McSharry, Matt Healy; Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion; Brett Wilkinson, Jason Harris-Wright, Nathan White, Michael Kearney, Craig Clarke (capt), John Muldoon, Jake Heenan, Eoin McKeon.
Replacements: David Heffernan, Denis Buckley, Rodney Ah You, Andrew Browne, George Naoupu, Paul O’Donohoe, Jack Carty, Fionn Carr.