Elwood makes one change for Aironi clash

The inclusion of prop Denis Buckley, who joins the front-row in place of the injured Brett Wilkinson, is the only change Eric Elwood has made for his side’s PRO12 meeting with Aironi in the Sportsground tomorrow (5pm).

The inclusion of prop Denis Buckley, who joins the front-row in place of the injured Brett Wilkinson, is the only change Eric Elwood has made for his side’s PRO12 meeting with Aironi in the Sportsground tomorrow (5pm).

Wilkinson picked up a calf strain in last week’s victory over Ulster and will now face a race against time to be fit for Ireland’s summer tour to New Zealand.

Recent victories over the Dragons and Ulster have left Eric Elwood’s side well placed to climb the RaboDirect PRO12 table and with just two points separating Connacht from the Dragons and Treviso a best ever eighth place finish is certainly within reach.

Elwood expects his players to carry their recent momentum into tomorrow evening’s game especially with some household names bidding fairwell to the Sportsground.

“We’re looking for a strong performance and to finish the season on a high,” the head coach stated.

“We’ve had some excellent results in recent weeks and we hope to build on that and finish on an up.

“It’ll be a big day for the likes of Ray (Ofisa) and Henry (Fa’afili) playing in front of the home crowd for the last time so it would be great to give them the send off they deserve and finish with a win.”

The Aironi starting XV shows just one change. Giovanbattista Venditti is back on the wing, with Sinoti Sinoti switching to outside centre in place of Gilberto Pavan, who starts from the bench.

Fullback Tito Tebaldi, wing Giulio Toniolatti and inside centre Matteo Pratichetti complete the back line, while Luciano Orquera and Tyson Keats pair up again in the halves.

There are no changes in the pack. Josh Sole is at number 8 and flankers Nicola Cattina and Simone Favaro complete the back row, captain Marco Bortolami and Quintin Geldenhuys are the locks.

In the front row, Matias Aguero and Lorenzo Romano are the props with Fabio Ongaro hooking.

Connacht: G Duffy; T O'Halloran, K Tonetti , H Fa'afili, F Vainikolo; M Nikora, F Murphy; D Buckley, E Reynecke, R Loughney; M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon, R Ofisa, G Naoupu.

Replacements:A Flavin, S Maguire, R Ah You, M Kearney, J O'Connor, P O'Donohoe, M Jarvis, E Griffin.

Aironi: T Tebaldi; G Toniolatti, S Sinoti, M Pratichetti, G Venditti; L Orquera, T Keats; J Sole, S Favaro, N Cattina; M Bortolami, Q Geldenhuys; L Romano, F Ongaro, M Aguero.

Replacements: T D’Apice, A De Marchi, L Redolfini, J Furno, N Williams, N Olivier, G Pavan, P Buso.

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