Tom Farrell, Connacht’s late try-scoring hero against the Toyota Cheetahs, is set for his first start of the GUINNESS PRO14 season as the westerners travel to Swansea to take on the Ospreys on Saturday (kick-off 5.15pm).
Farrell and his centre partner Peter Robb feature in a back-line that also includes winger Niyi Adeolokun who finished the Cheetahs game as man-of-the-match after scoring one try and setting up a second.
Australian John Porch is on the opposite wing and Darragh Leader returns from injury at full-back. In-form youngster Conor Fitzgerald continues at half-back alongside Kieran Marmion who has scored three tries in the province’s opening four games.
In the pack, injuries have forced head coach Andy Friend to make a number of changes for the trip to the Liberty Stadium. Dominic Robertson McCoy replaces Finlay Bealham at tighthead prop, while Ultan Dillane and Joe Maksymiw both come in to start in the second row.
There is a settled look to the back row which is led again by captain Jarrad Butler from the openside berth. Eoghan Masterson continues at blindside and Gorey man Paul Boyle packs down again at the base of the scrum.
Speaking ahead of the round 5 fixture, Friend said: “Our squad is in confident mood after three bonus point wins in a row. We have a few changes from the win over the Cheetahs last weekend, but I am really happy with the depth we have in the squad and how we have performed so far.
“Our win away to the Dragons in round two was our first in Wales in a while, so we’ll be looking to back that up with a win this weekend. The Ospreys are a very competitive side especially when they are at home.
“We saw that last season when we played them over there, so we face a really tough test. We have Leinster and Montpellier coming up in the Sportsground over the next two weekends, so it is important for us to keep winning going into those games.”
CONNACHT (v Ospreys): Darragh Leader; Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, John Porch; Conor Fitzgerald, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Joe Maksymiw, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler (capt), Paul Boyle.
Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Matthew Burke, Conor Kenny, Cillian Gallagher, Robin Copeland, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Stephen Fitzgerald.