Connacht take on Edinburgh this evening desperate to break a losing run of seven RaboDirect Pro 12 fixtures.
While three losing bonus points are keeping Connacht’s points tally ticking over, it’s a win they crave, and to this end coach Pat Lam has made six changes to the team that lost to Scarlets 24-21 at the Sportsground last Saturday.
Robbie Henshaw returns from Ireland duty to take over at fullback from Gavin Duffy, Fionn Carr comes in on the wing for Darragh Leader, and the experienced Dan Parks returns to his former international stamping ground at Murrayfield. Up front Ronan Loughney starts for the injured Brett Wilkinson, while Mick Kearney is given his first start, partnering Craig Clarke in the second row. And Eoin McKeon, having been out injured for three months, is named at No 8. John Muldoon, having fully recovered from a calf injury, takes his place on the bench.
Lam is hoping his side can repeat last season’s victory over the Scots at the same venue to lift them off the bottom of the Pro 12 table.
“We are very close [to breaking this sequence of losses]. There is a big focus to go over there and get a win, but it’s more about doing our jobs. We need to deliver a performance that gives us every chance of getting a result.”
However that task is daunting as Edinburgh have named seven internationals. Prop Alasdair Dickinson and No 8 David Denton are back from Scottish duty, in addition to scrum half Greig Laidlaw and Nick De Luca. Alan Solomons has also named backrow international Ross Rennie for his first start since March, having returned from injury to play in the last two games as a replacement.
CONNACHT: R Henshaw, F Carr, E Griffin D McSharry, M Healy, D Parks, K Marmion, R Loughney, S Henry, N White, M Kearney, C Clarke (cpt), A Muldowney, J Heenan, E McKeoin.
Replacements: J Harris-Wright, D Buckley, R Ah You, M Swift, J Muldoon, F Murphy, C Ronaldson, G Duffy.
EDINBURGH: G Tonks, D Fife, N De Luca, B Atiga, J Cuthbert, H Leonard, G Laidlaw (cpt), A Dickinson, A Lutui, WP Nel, O Atkins, I van der Westhuizen, C Du Preez, R Rennie, D Denton.
Replacements: J Hilterbrand, W Blaauw, G Cross, S Cox, R Grant, S Hidalgo-Clyne, S Beard, T Brown.
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