Home comforts could be key for Connacht

FOR the first time since December, Connacht enjoy a return to the Galway Sportsground where they host playoff hopefuls Glasgow in tonight’s Magners League fixture.

Much has changed off the field since then, but coach Micheal Bradley will be hoping this week’s announcement of his successor Eric Elwood and an IRFU review of Connacht Rugby will not detract from his players doing the business on the park tonight.

With Glasgow missing their internationals, this is an opportunity Connacht need to grab, and with five league fixtures remaining at home, Connacht will be pushing hard to take advantage and lift themselves off the bottom of the table.

Connacht’s form at home has been strong this season, and coupled with their European record and their most recent bonus-point loss away to the Ospreys, there is an improvement in consistency that Bradley has been craving all season.

“There is pressure on us to win the match and expectation is that, with a lot of commitments to the Scottish national side, we need to go out and dominate them. We need to win the game on the basis that they are going to be short of players.”

While the Warriors will be without at least nine of their Six Nations players, Connacht are missing Liam Bibo Niva Ta’auso, Ray Ofisa and Andrew Browne, while Bernie Upton is named on the bench.

Aidan Wynne comes into the centre alongside Keith Matthews, Johnny O’Connor replaces Ray Ofisa in the back row, and Mike McCarthy links up with Michael Swift in the second row.

Glasgow, who had been leading the table before losing to Cardiff travel to Galway intent on taking the points as the fight for the play-off places hots up. They have not won in Galway since 2007.

CONNACHT: G Duffy, T Nathan, K Matthews, A Wynne, F Carr, I Keatley, F Murphy, B Wilkinson, S Cronin, J Hagan, M Swift, M McCarthy, J Muldoon (cpt), J O’Connor, G Naoupu.

Replacements: A Flavin, R Morris, B Upton, M McComish, C O’Loughlin, M Nikora, B Tuohy.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: B Stortoni, C Shaw, P Murchie, P Horne, DTH van der Merwe, R Jackson, M McMillan, J Welsh, D Hall, E Kalman, T Barker, D Turner, J Eddie, C Forrester, R Vernon.

Replacements: F Thomson, K Tkachuk, R Gray, C Fusaro, C Gregor, C Kinloch, H O’Hare.

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