Pat Lam’s men continue to draw a blank in the RDS after their 24-13 defeat last weekend, where they dominated the opening quarter but were plagued by errors and lapses in concentration thereafter. Lam has made five changes from that side as Connacht target a first Pro12 victory away from home since defeating Edinburgh in March.
Lam is without Kieran Marmion, Finlay Bealham and lock Ultan Dillane (all on international duty) but the side is boosted by the return of Bundee Aki. Aki comes in for the injured Craig Ronaldson while Stacey Ili is named on the left wing.
With Marmion in Chicago, Caolin Blade is given the No 9 jersey where he links up with Jack Carty at half-back. Up front hooker Shane Delahunt, who scored a try late on against Leinster, and blindside flanker Eoin McKeon are both given starts.
Connacht have dominated the fixture against Dragons in recent seasons and with the Welsh suffering their sixth defeat of the season last weekend, the visitors are favourites. Though Dragons scored two tries and 17 points in that loss away to Ospreys Lam is solely focused on what his side can do.
“They certainly like to use the ball a lot more than a few years ago,” said Lam. “Kingsley Jones has opened their mindset about playing too. It’s like all the challenges we face. We understand what the opposition bring but our focus has to be about us getting it right.”
T Prydie; P Howard, S Beard, J Dixon, A Hewitt; A O’Brien, S Pretorius; P Price, T R Thomas, B Harris; N Crosswell, R Landman; L Evans, O Griffiths, E Jackson.
R Buckley, S Hobbs, L Fairbrother, M Screech, N Cudd, T Knoyle, G R Jones, A Warren.
T O’Halloran; N Adeolokun, B Aki, P Robb, S Ili; J Carty, C Blade; JP Cooney, S Delahunt, C Carey; Q Roux, A Browne; E McKeon, J Heenan, J Muldoon.
D Heffernan, S Meunargia, D Robertson-McCoy, J Cannon, J Connolly, C McKeon, S O’Leary, C Kelleher.