'Team performance' the priority for Lawler
Former Munster winger Mossy Lawler takes charge of his first B&I Cup game at home to Cornish Pirates today and he is expecting his players to handle the "pressure situation."
Connacht Eagles endured a torrid campaign last season and will be hoping for much better this year. When he rejoined the province, Eoin Griffin won't have imagined that he would have found himself captaining the 'A' side. Pat Lam's son Mitch starts at half-back and partners promising Ireland U-20 scrum-half Stephen Kerins.
Connacht supporters will get a chance to see new signing Stacey Ili, who is named outside of Griffin in midfield, while up front, James Cannon, who recently signed from Wasps, will get his first run-out in a Connacht jersey, partnering Danny Qualter in the second-row.
"As always with the Eagles, there is limited preparation time together as a unit and a real mix of experience but it's a challenge we're looking forward to," Lawler said. "While we want to do well in the competition, the focus is on team performance and how individuals can execute in a pressure situation."
Last season was a steep learning curve for plenty of youngsters, so they must show that lessons have been learned.
Connacht Eagles - D Poolman; R Parata, S Ili, E Griffin (capt), E O'Keeffe; M Lam, S Kerins; J East, J Dineen, S Meunargia; J Cannon, D Qualter; M Kelly, J Connolly, S McVeigh.
Reps: P O'Toole, C Gleeson, S Masterson, J Pim, C McKeon, L Carty, J Conroy.