Captain Gavin Duffy and flankers John Muldoon and Willie Faloon have returned to the squad after long-term injuries and have been named on the bench. Their return is timely given that Connacht are without full-back Robbie Henshaw, who has been released to play for Ireland U20s this evening, Mike McCarthy and Dave McSharry on Ireland duty, in addition to continuing injuries to No 8 George Naoupu and prop Denis Buckley.
As a result Kyle Tonetti joins Eoin Griffin in the centre, with Tiernan O’Halloran moving to full-back, while up front Mick Kearney partners Michael Swift in the second row, with Eoin McKeon returning from injury to No 8.
With nine games remaining in the RaboDirect, Elwood says Connacht’s aim is still to improve on last year’s eighth place.
“We still think it is possible, albeit with four games at home and five away — but the key for us is to get something from every game,” said Elwood.
CONNACHT: T O’Halloran, D Poolman, E Griffin, K Tonetti, F Vainikolo, D Parks, K Marmion, B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, N White (capt), M Swift, M Kearney, A Browne, J O’Connor, E McKeon.
Replacements: E Reynecke, R Ah You, R Loughney, W Faloon, J Muldoon, P O’Donohoe, M Nikora, G Duffy.
SCARLETS: G Owen, A Fenby, N Reynolds, A Warren,K Phillips, O Williams, A Davies, P John, E Phillips, S Lee, G Earle, J Synman, R McCusker (capt), J Turnbull, K Murphy.
Replacements: K Myhill, S Hopkins, D Manu, J Ball, L Rawlins, G Davies, A Thomas, G Maule.