All change for Connacht ahead of Munster clash

After putting out an unchanged sidefor the last four games, Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made a host of changes to the team to face Munster in tomorrow's interpro at the Sportsground, (kick off 6:15pm).

All change for Connacht ahead of Munster clash

After putting out an unchanged sidefor the last four games, Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made a host of changes to the team to face Munster in tomorrow's interpro at the Sportsground, (kick off 6:15pm).

Willie Faloon is named at openside flanker after recovering from a hamstring injury picked up late last week.

This is the first game in seven months for the 27-year-old who joins Eoin McKeon and captain John Muldoon in the back row.

Galway-born forwards Ronan Loughney and Andrew Browne are promoted from the bench and represent the only other changes to the pack.

There is also a reshuffle to the backline with scrum half Kieran Marmion the only player to be lining out in the same position as last week.

Last week's try scorer Darragh Leader has been named to start at fullback while Ireland international Robbie Henshaw shifts to outside centre to partner Eoin Griffin.

Wingers Matt Healy and Danie Poolman return to the starting line-up for tomorrow's game in place of Fionn Carr and Tiernan O'Halloran, who has been ruled out with a quad tear sustained in training mid-week.

Miah Nikora is handed the reins at outhalf and completes an all-Irish qualified starting team.

Also ruled out this week is substitute hooker Dave Heffernan. With three hookers unavailable due to injury, the coaching team has had to call on the services of 19-year-old sub-Academy hooker Jack Dinneen.

Limerick-born Dinneen, who now plays his club rugby with Galwegians RFC and studies Commerce in NUI Galway could earn his first senior cap against the Heineken Cup semi-finalists tomorrow.

Another notable addition to the bench is flanker Conor Gilsenan.

On loan to Connacht for the remainder of the season, 21-year-old Gilsenan lined out twice for the Eagles last month. If called upon, this will be his first PRO12 appearance.

Commenting on the team selection and the upcoming game, Head Coach Pat Lam said:

"After a false start last week for Willie (Faloon), it's great to have him back this week at the Sportsground.

"Seven is such a specialised position, and one which we've had to patch up this season with both Willie and Jake (Heenan) out long-term.

"It was obviously a big blow losing both Tiernan (O'Halloran) and Dave (Heffernan) to injuries during the week. Tiernan has been showing great form in the last two months but unfortunately this quad muscle tear has ruled him out for the rest of our season. We also had to train all week without Fionn (Carr), who's struggling with a knee haematoma, so it's a complete reshuffle to the back three.

"But what a great opportunity this is for the returning Danie (Poolman) and Matt (Healy) who have been pushing the guys hard in training.

"It doesn't get any bigger than Munster at home. It's always a tough game for us no matter where we play them.

"It's been seven weeks since we've played at the Sportsground and with a huge crowd expected, it's certainly going to be a special night. We can feel the buzz in training, the buzz around town. Everyone is up for it.

"But we know this is a must-win game for Munster too. Like us, they'll be hurting after their loss last week and they'll want to lay down a marker ahead of their big game with Toulon. We expect a big back lash and we need to be able to deal with it.

"We were so disappointed we didn't make anything of the opportunities we created against Ulster last week. We need to be so clinical tomorrow especially against a side like Munster who don't give you many of those opportunities."

Connacht: Darragh Leader, Danie Poolman, Robbie Henshaw, Eoin Griffin, Matt Healy, Miah Nikora, Kieran Marmion, Ronan Loughney, Jason Harris-Wright, Rodney Ah You, Mick Kearney, Andrew Browne, John Muldoon (captain), Willie Faloon, Eoin McKeon,

Replacements: Jack Dinneen, Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham, Aly Muldowney, Conor Gilsenan, Frank Murphy, Dan Parks, Dave McSharry

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