Connacht head coach Andy Friend has made four changes to his team to tacke on Edinburgh in the GUINNESS PRO14 at BT Murrayfield on Friday (kick-off 7.35pm).
With Dave Heffernan and Ultan Dillane unavailable due to international commitments and Gavin Thornbury picking up a calf injury last weekend, all four changes come in the pack that dominated Cardiff Blues in Galway last time out.
Denis Buckley and Shane Delahunt are the two new faces in the front row with tighthead Finlay Bealham retained from the Cardiff game, while Joe Maksymiw and 20-year-old Academy member Niall Murray will form the second row partnership.
Captain Jarrad Butler anchors a back row that includes Paul Boyle and Colby Fainga’a at blindside and openside flanker, and Jack Carty and Kieran Marmion continue together as the province’s starting half-backs.
Carty and Marmion lead a back-line that ran in three of Connacht’s four tries in their 29-0 victory over Cardiff. Kyle Godwin and Peter Robb, two of the try scorers last Saturday, will be hoping to make another big impact from midfield.
With Matt Healy sidelined through illness, Niyi Adeolokun continues on the right wing with John Porch, who has bagged five tries in his last five appearances, on the left and Galway man Tiernan O’Halloran stationed at full-back.
Speaking ahead of the round 12 clash, Friend said: “We put in a good performance against Cardiff, but we know there are still areas for improvement and Edinburgh in Murrayfield are a different prospect this week.
“They have set the pace in our Conference and are sitting top of the table. We know that results against them, at home and away between now and the end of the season, will have a huge bearing on our qualification prospects.
“We’ve made four changes to our starting team from last weekend but there is still a familiar look to it. It’s a team that we feel will challenge Edinburgh and we are looking forward to the challenge on Friday evening.”
CONNACHT (v Edinburgh): Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin, Peter Robb, John Porch; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Niall Murray, Joe Maksymiw, Paul Boyle, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (capt).
Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Paddy McAllister, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Eoghan Masterson, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Tom Daly.