Connacht captain John Muldoon will become the first player to break the 200-cap mark in the GUINNESS PRO12 when the westerners visit Cardiff Blues on Friday night (kick-off 7.05pm).
The Connacht side to face Cardiff Blues at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park features eight personnel changes and one positional switch from the side that made history at Thomond Park last weekend.
Darragh Leader comes on to the right wing for his 50th Connacht appearance, while Tiernan O’Halloran shifts to full-back. Jack Carty is named at out-half with AJ MacGinty ruled out for up to four weeks, and scrum half Ian Porter earns his first PRO12 start of the season.
There is a new front row with the introduction of Ronan Loughney, Dave Heffernan and Rodney Ah You, while Quinn Roux returns from injury to partner Aly Muldowney in the second row.
Captain John Muldoon will be sporting a new shaven look when he becomes the first player to break the 200-cap barrier in the PRO12. The Galway man, who turned 33 on Monday, is named in the back row with Academy flanker James Connolly and returning number 8 Eoin McKeon.
Both Jason Harris-Wright and Conan O’Donnell are named among the front row replacements. Academy backs Peter Robb and Rory Parata are also listed on the bench, the former in line to make his PRO12 debut having started in the centre against Enisei-STM last month.
Commenting on the team selection and the trip to the Welsh capital, Connacht head coach Pat Lam said: “We have another big game on the road again this week. Cardiff has been a difficult fixture for us the past few seasons and they are very tough to beat at home.
“They have some quality, experienced players in their squad and they will view this game as a chance to get back to winning ways. We know we will have to be at our best and fully focused as a team to get the four points on offer in another vital PRO12 game, before attention switches to Europe.
“With the short turnaround and following a very physical game against Munster, we obviously see some changes in the side this week. While we lost four more guys to injury in the last game, we also have players coming back into contention.
“And with competition as high as ever, it makes our job for selection that bit more difficult but that’s what we want as coaches.
“I’d also like to give a special mention to our skipper and warrior Mul (John Muldoon) who consistently epitomises what we’re about and leads his province into battle for a record-breaking 200th time in the PRO12.”
CONNACHT (v Cardiff Blues): Tiernan O’Halloran; Darragh Leader, Bundee Aki, Craig Ronaldson, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Ian Porter; Ronan Loughney, Dave Heffernan, Rodney Ah You, Quinn Roux, Aly Muldowney, John Muldoon (capt), James Connolly, Eoin McKeon.
Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Conan O’Donnell, Finlay Bealham, George Naoupu, Sean O’Brien, Kieran Marmion, Peter Robb, Rory Parata.