Connacht head coach Pat Lam has announced the team to face Munster in Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO12 derby match at Thomond Park (kick-off 5.15pm).
There are four personnel changes in total to the team that played Cardiff Blues last time out with three of those changes in the backs.
Darragh Leader comes onto the right wing while fellow Galway man Tiernan O’Halloran shifts to full-back. Scrum half Kieran Marmion returns for a new half-back pairing with Jack Carty and Craig Ronaldson moves to outside centre.
Up front, Academy forward Eoghan Masterson (pictured below) is named at openside flanker for his fifth game this season, joining captain John Muldoon and number 8 George Naoupu in the back row.
Quinn Roux and Eoin McKeon return to take their places among the reserve forwards, while backs Shane O’Leary and Conor Finn are also introduced to the matchday squad.
Commenting on the interprovincial derby, Pat Lam said: “We are fully aware that Munster at Thomond Park is a big challenge, but we also have the self belief that if we focus on our game-plan and work as a team, we can go down there and perform.
“It’s no secret that we’ve been hit with injuries, especially in certain positions but what it has highlighted is the importance of team work within the squad. Younger guys like Eoghan can step up with ease to pick up the role and do their part for the team with confidence.
“Interpro games like this are always big occasions but, for us, there are four points up for grabs and rather than get too caught up in the emotion of a derby game, we want to channel everything into a performance. We’re very much looking forward to it.”
CONNACHT (v Munster): Tiernan O’Halloran; Darragh Leader, Danie Poolman, Craig Ronaldson, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Rodney Ah You, Michael Kearney, Aly Muldowney, John Muldoon (capt), Eoghan Masterson, George Naoupu.
Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Ronan Loughney, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Eoin McKeon, John Cooney, Shane O’Leary, Conor Finn.