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GUINNESS PRO12 Preview: Edinburgh v Connacht

GUINNESS PRO12 Preview: Edinburgh v Connacht

Scotland has not been a happy hunting ground for Connacht, with just one win in their last seven visits, but Pat Lam’s men are well capable of getting a result against Edinburgh on Murrayfield’s new hybrid pitch.

GUINNESS PRO12: Friday, September 12

EDINBURGH (5th) v CONNACHT (3rd), BT Murrayfield, 7.35pm (live TG4/BBC ALBA)

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Team News: Ahead of Connacht’s GUINNESS PRO12 round 2 match against Edinburgh, head coach Pat Lam has made three personnel changes and one positional switch to the side that defeated the Dragons 16-11.

Ireland internationals Robbie Henshaw and Kieran Marmion both come into the starting line-up for the Friday night fixture at BT Murrayfield.

There is a slight reshuffle to the young back-line – average age of 22.5 years – as Henshaw takes the number 13 shirt, shifting Darragh Leader to his preferred position of full-back.

Ian Porter, who made his Connacht debut at the Sportsground last week, makes way for Marmion who partners Jack Carty at half-back.

Up front, Willie Faloon is the only change to the pack. He comes in at openside flanker alongside captain John Muldoon and Eoin McKeon, one of last week’s try scorers.

Aly Muldowney, Craig Ronaldson and Fionn Carr all come on to the bench for the round 2 game in the Scottish capital.

Meanwhile, there are two changes to the Edinburgh team that overcame Munster 14-13 in their GUINNESS PRO12 opener at Thomond Park last Friday.
Sam Beard moves from centre to the right wing with Nick McLennan graduating from the bench to take the left wing berth.

Beard commented: “Last week’s win has given us a boost going into this match – we really appreciate the home support and are hoping to get a good crowd.”
Second row Anton Bresler, scrum half Grayson Hart and centre Joaquin Dominguez have been added to the bench.

EDINBURGH: Jack Cuthbert; Sam Beard, Phil Burleigh, Andries Strauss, Nick McLennan; Tom Heathcote, Sean Kennedy; Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford (capt), John Andress, Fraser McKenzie, Ollie Atkins, Tomas Leonardi, Hamish Watson, Cornell du Preez.

Replacements: James Hilterbrand, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Anton Bresler, Mike Coman, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Grayson Hart, Joaquin Dominguez.

CONNACHT: Darragh Leader; Niyi Adeolokun, Robbie Henshaw, David McSharry, Danie Poolman; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, David Heffernan, Nathan White, Michael Kearney, Quinn Roux, John Muldoon (capt), Willie Faloon, Eoin McKeon.

Replacements: Sean Henry, Finlay Bealham, Rodney Ah You, Aly Muldowney, George Naoupu, Ian Porter, Craig Ronaldson, Fionn Carr.

Referee: Gary Conway (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Linton, Graeme Marshall (both Scotland)
Television Match Official: David Changleng (Scotland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Edinburgh to win: 1/3; Draw: 22/1; Connacht to win: 9/4

Pre-Match Quotes: Pat Lam (Connacht) – “It’s great to have the experience of both Robbie and Kieran in the starting fifteen. They are both itching to get back into the Connacht shirt and are great additions to our already young and energetic back line.

“While it’s disappointing to be without Jake (Heenan) this week, we are fortunate that Willie can step straight into the number 7 shirt and do a great job.

“We were pleased with the outcome of last week’s game but we all knew we had a lot of work to do during the week to improve certain areas of our game that let us down.

“It’s been a quick turnaround for us, leaving on Thursday for Edinburgh, but we know we all have to be on the same page to nail the process that is needed to defeat a very strong Edinburgh team at home especially after their great win over Munster last week.”

Alan Solomons (Edinburgh) – “I’ve got a lot of respect for Connacht and we know we’re going to have to deliver a really good performance.
“Unfortunately neither Tim Visser nor Dougie Fife are available this week but on the positive side, it’s good that Anton Bresler has a chance to come off the bench.
“Mike (Coman) took a knock in the game against Munster and wasn’t able to train until Thursday so it’s prudent that he starts off the bench.”

Top Scorers – 2014/15 GUINNESS PRO12: Edinburgh – Points: Tom Heathcote 9; Tries: Jack Cuthbert 1; Connacht – Points: Darragh Leader 6; Tries: Eoin McKeon, Danie Poolman 1 each


Friday, September 16, 2011 – Edinburgh 19 Connacht 14, Murrayfield
Friday, February 24, 2012 – Connacht 26 Edinburgh 13, the Sportsground
Saturday, December 1, 2012 – Connacht 23 Edinburgh 24, the Sportsground
Friday, April 12, 2013 – Edinburgh 24 Connacht 32, Murrayfield
Friday, November 29, 2013 – Edinburgh 43 Connacht 10, Murrayfield
Saturday, February 15, 2014 – Connacht 11 Edinburgh 7, the Sportsground


– Edinburgh ended a five-match losing streak in the GUINNESS PRO12 with their exciting 14-13 victory at Munster last Friday

– The Scotsmen have not begun a season with back-to-back victories since 2009/10, but are on an unwanted run of three straight home defeats

– Connacht also ended a five-match losing run with their 16-11 victory at home to the Dragons last Saturday

– Connacht began the 2011/12 season with two victories, the first time they had achieved this since 2006

– The westerners’ only victory in Scotland in their last seven visits was in this equivalent fixture at Murrayfield two seasons ago

– Connacht were victorious 11-7 in Galway the last time that these two sides met but have never managed back-to-back victories over Edinburgh