RABO DIRECT PRO12:
Cardiff Blues v Connacht
John Muldoon will win his 200th cap when Connacht face Cardiff in the Arms Park tonight(7.05pm).
The Portumna native will join fellow leaders Gavin Duffy and Michael Swift, in the hopes of repeating last season’s victory at the venue — the province’s first in 11 years. Robbie Henshaw moves from full-back to the centre to accommodate the returning Duffy who has recovered from a cheek injury, with Danie Poolman dropping to the bench. Tiernan O’Halloran comes in on the wing, replacing Fionn Carr who suffered a calf strain in last weekend’s winning Pro12 opener against Zebre.
Pat Lam says Connacht now have to step it up again.
“We are away from home and Cardiff will be desperate to get their season going on their new pitch. I have come up against Welsh teams and, when they are passionate, they are tough. Cardiff are a huge team with quality players.”
Cardiff line out with two players making their 50th appearances, scrum-half Lloyd Williams and back row Andries Pretorius, who is one of three changes to the side that lost narrowly to Glasgow. The big addition this week is Lions’ wing Alex Cuthbert who is expected to play a key role in attack on the Arms Parks’ new artificial pitch, but up front they are just as strong, with six internationals.
Both sides have adopted a more expansive playing style this season and Phil Davies says his aim is to provide a spectacle every time Cardiff play at the Arms Park.
Connacht’s defence leaked a consolation try at the death last week and they will need to be on their toes again.
CONNACHT: G Duffy, T O’Halloran, R Henshaw, E Griffin, M Healy, D Parks, K Marmion, B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, N White, M Swift (cpt), A Browne, J Muldoon, W Faloon, G Naoupu. Replacements: S Henry, R Ah You, R Loughney, A Muldowney, J Heenan, P O’Donohoe C Ronaldson, D Poolman.
CARDIFF BLUES: T Williams, A Cuthbert, O Williams, D Hewitt, H Robinson, R Patchell, L Williams, T Filise, M Rees (cpt), S Andrews, B Davies, F Paulo, A Pretorius, J Navidi, R Copeland.
Replacements: K Dacey, S Hobbs, B Bourrust, L Reed, M Cook, L Jones, G Davies, G Evans.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved