Saturday 3 December 2016

Carolan hoping for big Eagles response

Published 21/11/2015 | 02:30

Connacht Eagles head caoch Nigel Carolan has made six personnel changes ahead of the clash against Doncaster Knights this afternoon
Connacht Eagles head caoch Nigel Carolan has made six personnel changes ahead of the clash against Doncaster Knights this afternoon

The British and Irish Cup hasn't been kind to Connacht Eagles in recent years and they got this season's campaign off to a poor start when they lost (34-10) to Dragons Select.

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They need a response against Doncaster Knights this afternoon (2.30) if they are to realistically advance to the knockout stages.

Nigel Carolan has made six personnel changes and will be glad to recall Dave McSharry from injury. He starts in the centre alongside Cormac Brennan.

On his return from the European Challenge Cup game in Siberia, scrum-half Caolin Blade starts in an otherwise unchanged backline.

Carolan has continued to show faith in his academy and sub-academy players and has named a pack made up entirely of both.

"We're travelling with a young squad again but with a lot of positivity and determination to restore the form we saw in our interpro wins over Ulster and Leinster 'A'," Carolan said.

"Doncaster drew to Jersey in round 1 but they had an impressive five-try win away to Bristol the week before so they will be confident.

"We are making progress ourselves and we hope to deliver a better performance this week."

Doncaster are also flying high in the competition and are just three points off top in third.

Former Ulster scrum-half, Michael Heaney returns from injury to start for the English side.

Connacht impressed recently against Leinster 'A' but they have failed to carry that form into this tournament. If they don't do so today, they will be looking at another long season.

Verdict: Doncaster Knights

Connacht Eagles - C Gaffney; A Leavy, C Brennan, D McSharry, E O'Keefe; C McKeon, C Blade; J Walshe, P O'Toole, S Meunargia; P Claffey, C Gallagher; J Connolly, R Moloney, S O'Brien (capt). Reps: J Healy, M Burke, C Romaine, M Kelly, S Keirns, A Moynihan, S McVeigh.

Irish Independent

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