Connacht ‘up for it’ in Wales, says Kieran Keane

Connacht coach Kieran Keane knows his men have an uphill battle if they are to oust champions Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets tonight.

Connacht ‘up for it’ in Wales, says Kieran Keane

But he insists his men are up for the battle as they try to get their campaign moving after three defeats in their opening four games.

“Scarlets are a champion team. They are very strong across the board. They know how to win,” said Keane. “They play with a lot of width and guile and they have some quality players. It’s a big task to go over there and win and we are up for it,” he said.

Keane has made eight changes to the side that went down 17-15 at home to Cardiff Blues on Saturday, including handing the captaincy to hooker Tom McCartney in the absence of John Muldoon, who has not been included in the squad for the trip to Llanelli.

Tiernan O’Halloran returns to full-back with Jack Carty recalled to out-half, where he will partner Caolin Blade. The fourth backline change sees Tom Farrell start in the centre instead of Craig Ronaldson. Aside from McCartney returning to skipper the side, the other three changes up front sees Conor Carey start at tighthead, while Jake Heenan and Eoin McKeon are recalled to the back row.

“We are going over there to beat them. We have put in place what we think can trouble them,” added Keane.

“But they are a quality side and you don’t become champions for nothing.”

SCARLETS:

L Halfpenny; J McNicholl, J Davies, S Williams, S Evans; R Patchell, A Davies; R Evans, K Owens, W Kruger; J Ball, D Bulbring; A Shingler, W Boyde, J Macleod.

Replacements:

E Phillips, D Evans, S Gardiner, T Beirne, L Rawlins, J Evans, P Asquith, T Prydie.

CONNACHT:

D Leader; T O’Halloran, B Aki, T Farrell, C Kelleher; J Carty, C Blade; D Buckley, T McCartney, C Carey; U Dillane, Q Roux; J Heenan, J Butler, E McKeon.

Replacements:

S Delahunt, D Coulson, F Bealham, G Thornbury, E Masterson, K Marmion, S Crosbie, E Griffin.

Referee:

Nigel Owens (Wales).

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