Tonetti back in the picture for Connacht

Kyle Tonetti will earn his first start for Connacht this season having been named at inside centre in Eric Elwood’s starting team to face Scarlets in tomorrow night’s RaboDirect PRO12 meeting at Parc Y Scarlets (7.30pm).

Tonetti back in the picture for Connacht

Kyle Tonetti will earn his first start for Connacht this season having been named at inside centre in Eric Elwood’s starting team to face Scarlets in tomorrow night’s RaboDirect PRO12 meeting at Parc Y Scarlets (7.30pm).

25-year-old Tonetti endured a lengthy battle with injury but has recovered fully and has been playing with his club Lansdowne RFC over the last number of weeks.

Tomorrow night in Wales, he will wear the number 12 jersey, partnering Eoin Griffin in midfield.

There are a number of changes to the team that played Zebre three weeks ago in the Heineken Cup.

Brett Wilkinson, Jason Harris Wright and skipper Nathan White make up the front row trio.

Replacing Ireland international Mike McCarthy, Mick Kearney starts in the second row alongside veteran Michael Swift.

Eoin McKeon returned from injury last week and starts at number 8, joining flankers Andrew Browne and Johnny O'Connor in the back row.

In the backline, Tiernan O'Halloran is named at full back, replacing Robbie Henshaw who is on international duty this week.

Danie Poolman, Connacht’s joint leading try scorer for the season, and Fetu'u Vainikolo are named on the wings.

The half back pairing of Dan Parks and Kieran Marmion remains. Scrum-half Marmion earns his 20th cap for Connacht tomorrow night and holds the record of the only player to have started every game this season.

On the bench there are some welcome returnees with Willie Faloon and John Muldoon named amongst the forward replacements.

Gavin Duffy also returns to the fray and could feature in tomorrow's clash with Simon Easterby's side.

Connacht (v. Scarlets): T O’Halloran; D Poolman, E Griffin, K Tonetti, F Vainikolo; D Parks, K Marmion; B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, N White (capt); M Swift, M Kearney, A Browne, J O’Connor, E McKeon.

Replacements: E Reynecke, R Ah You, R Loughney, W Faloon, J Muldoon, P O'Donohoe, M Nikora, Gavin Duffy.

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