Connacht bid for seventh win in 16 visits against Dragons

Connacht return to their happiest hunting ground in the league this evening, bidding for their seventh win in 16 visits to Rodney Parade when they take on Dragons.

Connacht bid for seventh win in 16 visits against Dragons

The six victories in Newport is their best return at an away venue, while outside of the Italian teams, the Dragons are the only side at which they enjoy a better than 50% return over the years. Connacht have made seven changes from the side which defeated the Kings 32-10 with assistant coach Nigel Carolan insisting they need to use their full squad given the length of the season.

“We can’t sit back and rely on the same 15, we have got to make sure we have got options there, but also bearing in mind we are still trying to get the team to gel, trying to build some cohesion within the side.

“We don’t want to make wholesale changes when we are trying to bed-in new systems there as well so it’s trying to find the balance between making changes for the sake of changes and getting a team to be cohesive,” he said.

Former Ulster and Edinburgh winger Rory Scholes makes his Connacht debut while loosehead prop Denis Coulson is set to start his first game for the province.

There are two changes in the back-line where Scholes starts on the left wing and Caolin Blade comes in at scrum-half, replacing Kieran Marmion who is on the replacements bench.

Up front, there are five further alterations with ex-Grenoble loosehead Coulson in the front-row and Conor Carey making his first start of the season at tight-head prop.

Quinn Roux also begins his first game of 2017-18 in the second row while Jack Heenan does likewise at openside flanker. Eoghan Mastersonstarts at blindside flanker.

DRAGONS:

Z Kirchner; A Hewitt, T Morgan, J Dixon, H Amos; G Henson, S Pretorius; B Harris, E Dee, L Brown; R Landman, C Hill; H Keddie, O Griffiths, J Benjamin.

Replacements:

G Ellis, T Davies, L Fairbrother, M Screech, R Blake, O Leonard, D Jones, J Rosser.

CONNACHT:

T O’Halloran; D Leader, T Farrell, B Aki, R Scholes; J Carty, C Blade; D Coulson, T McCartney, C Carey; Q Roux, J Cannon; E Masterson, J Heenan, J Muldoon.

Replacements:

D Heffernan, P McCabe, D Robertson-McCoy, G Thornbury, J Butler, K Marmion, S Crosbie, E Griffin.

Referee:

Quinton Immelman (South Africa)

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