Ahead of Saturday’s sold-out interprovincial derby with Munster at the Sportsground (kick-off7.15pm), Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made three personnel changes to the team that lined out against Grenoble last weekend.
With the injury to Danie Poolman, the back-line is reshuffled once again. Top try scorer Matt Healy returns to the left wing with Robbie Henshaw reverting to full-back.
Academy centre Peter Robb is handed his sixth start of the season, partnering Bundee Aki in midfield. The half-back pairing of Shane O’Leary and Kieran Marmion is retained.
Up front, Aly Muldowney is brought in to partner Ireland international Ultan Dillane in the second row, while Eoin McKeon has recovered from illness to start in the all-Galway-born back row with Sean O’Brien and the province’s Player of the Month, John Muldoon.
Jason Harris-Wright and Jack Carty are new additions to the matchday squad with Carty in line to make his first appearance since having his spleen removed ten weeks ago.
Commenting on the team selection and the visit of Munster to Galway, Pat Lam said: “Aly and Eoin come in for us on Saturday and will bring fresh legs and energy having not travelled to France last week. It’s another big challenge tomorrow but we’re very excited by it.
“We have a lot of respect for Munster and what they have achieved. I have no doubt that as a province with huge history and pride, they will come here with intensity and focus. We will need to continue to channel our work ethic and physicality into our team structures to get the valuable points on offer.
“With the weather promising to hold up, it’s set up to be a cracker of a game – the sort of rugby you want to be playing in front of a big crowd at this time of the season. While we have a lot of young and less experienced players in our side, these are exactly the type of games that will accelerate their continued development and progression as Connacht and Irish rugby players.”
CONNACHT (v Munster): Robbie Henshaw; Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Peter Robb, Matt Healy; Shane O’Leary, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Aly Muldowney, Sean O’Brien, Eoin McKeon, John Muldoon (capt).
Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Ronan Loughney, JP Cooney, Andrew Browne, James Connolly, John Cooney, Jack Carty, Fionn Carr.