Injuries have robbed Connacht of a host of front-line players for the visit of Edinburgh to the Galway Sportsground today (5pm).
New Ireland lock Mike McCarthy and flanker John Muldoon are joined by veteran Michael Swift, No 8 George Naoupu, props Nathan White and Rodney Ah You, hooker Ethienne Reynecke and Eoin Griffin in a list of injuries that has swelled to 17 in the past week.
In contrast Edinburgh travel with five internationals — Nick de Luca, Matt Scott, Tim Visser, Greig Laidlaw and Dave Denton- in their starting side as they bid to build on last week’s victory over Ospreys. That win, which was came after losing five in a row, saw them leapfrog Connacht in the RaboDirect Pro 12 league standings.
Eric Elwood has been forced to make three changes and a positional switch from the team that lost last weekend at Rodney Parade. Prop Brett Wilkinson earns his 150th cap for the province, while Ronan Loughney replaces Nathan White in the front row. Andrew Browne moves to the second row to partner Mick Kearney, while Johnny O’Connor comes in on the blindside.
Captain Gavin Duffy will continue on the wing with Fetu Vainikolo on the bench after his exploits with Tonga in Scotland last weekend. Scrumhalf Paul O’Donohoe is also named amongst the replacements for the first time this season after returning from injury.
CONNACHT: R Henshaw, T O’Halloran, D Poolman, D McSharry, G Duffy (c), D Parks, K Marmion, B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, R Loughney, M Kearney, A Browne, J O’Connor, W Faloon, E McKeon.
Replacements: A Flavin, D Buckley, JP Cooney, D Qualter, D Gannon, P O’Donoghoe, M Nikora F Vainikolo.
EDINBURGH: G Tonks, T Brown, N De Luca, M Scott, T Visser, G Laidlaw (c), R Rees, A Jacobsen, A Titterrell, W Nel, P Parker, S Cox, D Denton, R Grant, S McInally.
Replacements: A Walker, J Yapp, L Niven, R McAlpine, I van der Westhutzen, C Leck, G Hunter, D Fife.
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