With an unprecedented three league wins on the trot, and Cardiff next up at home, Lam has opted to make several changes against a Glasgow side tipped to continue their perfect start to the season.
Openside Willie Faloon, Ireland squad member Kieran Marmion, Nathan White, Mick Kearney – who joined Joe Schmidt’s training last weekend – and winger Niyi Adeolokun will all be given the week off.
“The hardest thing for us with a small squad is the knocks that are starting to take a toll,” says Lam. “This competition shows that there are big, tough games back-to-back, and if you put the same group out, then someone will get hurt. Willie [Faloon] is being minded. With our options depleted at seven, we want to give him a break and the chance to ensure he’s 100% come the following week.
“Niyi [Adeolokun] took a few knocks — you have to remember it is his first year at this level — he needs a break to recover. Kieran [Marmion] has played a lot of rugby over the last two seasons. It’s important we manage his game time to ensure he has the best opportunity to perform at the highest level throughout the season.”
With Faloon the only seven still standing, Lam is moving No 8 Eoin McKeon to openside with George Naoupu moves to eight. Michael Swift makes his first start, joining Aly Muldowney in the second row, while in the front row Rodney Ah You replaces Nathan White, who is named on the bench with Kearney. In the backs, Ian Porter comes in for last week’s try scorer Marmion, while Danie Poolman returns from illness to replace Adeolokun.
“Glasgow are a class side, they have so much depth and quality, and they are big men and that is what we have to manage, but everyone’s pretty determined, feet on the ground and trusting our game,” said Lam.
S Hogg, S Lamont, M Bennett, J Downey, DTH van der Merwe, D Weir, H Pyrgos, G Reid, P MacArthury, E Murray, T Swinson, Al Kellock (cpt), R Harley, C Fusaro, A Ashe.
K Bryce, J Yanuyanutawa, Rossouw de Klerk, T Ryder, J Eddie, M McConnell, F Russell, T Seymour.
D Leader, D Poolman, R Henshaw, D McSharry, M Healy, J Carty, I Porter, D Buckley, D Heffernan, R Ah You, M Swift, A Muldowney, J Muldoon (cpt), E McKeon, G Naoupu.
S Delahunt, R Loughney, N White, Q Roux, M Kearney, J Cooney, C Ronaldson, F Carr.