CONNACHT face an early season front row crisis with two first-choice props out of action.
Prop Brett Wilkinson (broken finger) and Robbie Morris (back injury) have both been ruled out of tonight’s fixture away to Edinburgh (7.30).
A third player, centre Niva Ta’auso, also has a fracture in his hand, resulting in three enforced changes to the Connacht starting fifteen.
Coach Michael Bradley has brought Troy Nathan into the centre, while, in the front row, Ronan Loughney comes in for Wilkinson, partnering hooker Sean Cronin and Jamie Hagan, who replaced Morris during the Ospreys’ fixture last week.
Connacht’s recent record against Edinburgh is poor, and Connacht captain John Muldoon says it will be a difficult challenge.
“They had an excellent win against Cardiff and obviously their new coach has introduced a different type of game plan. Traditionally, Edinburgh liked to move the ball around, but they have added more direction to their game and they look really strong.”
Muldoon is hoping the Connacht pack can get more change from Edinburgh than they did against the Ospreys. Second-half sinbinnings to Mike McComish and scrum-half Frank Murphy were costly as Ospreys took advantage, driving over the line for the only try of the game.
Bradley says Connacht are appealing the first sin-binning, although he does not believe either was legitimate. However, he says, Connacht still created enough chances to win.
“It’s about attention to detail. You put yourself in position to win matches, you get the territory and possession and don’t convert – that’s most frustrating for players and managers.”
Edinburgh coach Rob Moffat has made only one change, with Andrew Turnbull coming in for the injured Tim Visser on the wing.
Scum-half Mike Blair is doubtful due to a throat infection, although he is named on the bench along with fellow Lion, hooker Ross Ford.
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