Pat Lam sticks with tried and tested for Connacht

Connacht coach Pat Lam is taking nothing for granted after victory over Munster, naming virtually an unchanged side for tonight’s visit of Edinburgh to the Galway Sportsground (7.35pm).

Pat Lam sticks with tried and tested for Connacht

The only change is at out-half where Miah Nikora comes in for Craig Ronaldson, who is undergoing return-to-play protocols for a head knock in Connacht’s 24-16 win over Munster on New Year’s Day.

Aly Muldowney (chest infection) and Tom McCartney (gastric bug) have both recovered to take their places.

After celebrating one of their most significant wins of the season and only their second victory over Munster in six years, Lam believes the Edinburgh challenge will be just as tough.

“We have to stay focused on the goals, and we have a big game against a team that just knocked off one of the top teams [Glasgow]. With the pleasing team performance last week against Munster, we are putting out the same match day squad this week, with the exception of Craig [Ronaldson]. But after showing his experience from the bench last week, Miah (Nikora) now comes in to start this important game.”

The win over Anthony Foley’s outfit ensured Connacht maintained their unbeaten home record this season and sixth place in the Pro12.

“Christmas was a busy time for us, but we said it this week that we must park Munster, and we have to be even better against Edinburgh.

“You just need to look at round one when they outmuscled Munster in Thomond Park. Theyshow on the their day that they are a hard team to beat and we are fully prepared for this important game. Certainly more physical than Munster,” says Lam.

“Their game plan is direct, with big runners and a couple of big South African boys.

“We are glad we had an-eight day turnaround because we need to get energy back to match it again.”

Edinburgh are seeking to avenge Connacht’s early season victory in the Scottish capital, and are buoyed after a historic triumph in the 1872 Cup against local rivals Glasgow Warriors last weekend.

Coach Alan Solomons has made three changes to his side, all up front, with Willem Nel replacing John Andress at tight head, Roddy Grant moving to the blindside, and Hamish Watson on the openside in place of Mike Coman.

CONNACHT: M Muliaina, D Leader, R Henshaw, B Aki, D Poolman, M Nikora, K Marmion, D Buckley, T McCartney, R Ah You, Q Roux, A Muldowney, J Muldoon (cpt), W Faloon, EMcKeon.

Replacements: D Heffernan, R Loughney, F Bealham, U Dilane, G Naoupu, J Cooney, J Carty, D McSharry.

EDINBURGH: J Cuthbert, D Fife, M Scott, P Burleigh, T Visser, G Tonks, S Hidalgo-Clyne, A Dickinson, R Ford (cpt), W Nel, A Bresler, B Tools, R Grant, H Watson, D Denton.

Replacements: N Cochrane, R Sutherland, J Andress, F McKenzie, T Leonardi, S Kennedy, J Te Rure, A Strauss.

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