ERIC ELWOOD, in his first match as Connacht head coach, has been boosted by the return to action of several key players for this evening’s Magners League opener against the Newport Gwent Dragons (5.30pm).
Ireland internationals, full-back Gavin Duffy and hooker Sean Cronin, who came through a late fitness test, will start, while scrum-half Frank Murphy, who captains the side, and Keith Matthews, have also been included in the starting XV. Duffy, Cronin, and Matthews will be making their first appearance for the province this season, having missed the two pre-season friendlies.
Captain John Muldoon, who remains out until October, is a huge loss to the side, but Elwood says it is an opportunity for others to take over the leadership role.
“We are missing our talisman, our captain – a very influential player – but we are hoping some of the other guys take on that mantle tomorrow. We are going to have injuries throughout the season, and we expect people to step up – now is the opportunity.”