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Saturday 23 August 2014

Elwood hoping 'attention to detail' reaps rewards

Conor George

Published 01/12/2012 | 05:00

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CONNACHT coach Eric Elwood has made three changes to his forward division from the team that faced Dragons for tonight's game against Edinburgh.

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Brett Wilkinson earns his 150th cap at loosehead prop, Ronan Loughney replaces Nathan White at tighthead and Andrew Browne, making way for Johnny O'Connor, moves from flanker to partner Mick Kearney in the second-row.

There are no changes to the backline, but a number of new faces are included among the replacements.

Prop JP Cooney and academy player Danny Qualter are joined on the bench by scrum-half Paul O'Donohoe, who makes his comeback from injury a week ahead of the Heineken Cup Round 3 game with Biarritz.

Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley, mindful of his side's poor run of results this season, has pitched five of the club's returning Scotland internationals back into the side as he bids to build on last week's win over Ospreys.

"In the past we might not have brought the Scotland players straight back in and maybe given them the weekend off after the Tests, but it's vital that we build on the momentum from the Ospreys match, and we have picked a strong side with the aim of doing just that," he explained.

Returning to the fold are captain Greig Laidlaw at out-half and Matt Scott and Nick de Luca in midfield, while Tim Visser goes back out to the wing and David Denton packs down on the blind-side of the scrum.

Hooker Andy Titterrell replaces the injured Ross Ford (shoulder) and Allan Jacobsen is offered the chance to impress from the outset at loosehead prop.

The home side are, Elwood says, determined to bounce back from their disappointing loss to Dragons last weekend.

"It is important to make sure we get our own stuff correct to give ourselves a chance," he said.

"We had an extra session on Thursday and it's about what we can do to the best of our ability and with full attention to detail.

"After the disappointment of last Friday night, the key is to get ourselves right and play the way we want to play.

"We know we can exert pressure on any opposition, we have shown that, but it's the consistency. To exert pressure we have to get the set-piece right, and once we get the ball in play, we have to hold our structure and work hard to keep our shape in phased attack.

"We have a lot of injuries, and you have to take into consideration the injuries we've had."

Verdict: Connacht

Connacht – R Henshaw, T O'Halloran, D Poolman, D McSharry, G Duffy (Capt), D Parks, K Marmion; B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, R Loughney; M Kearney, A Browne; J O'Connor, W Faloon, E McKeon. Reps: A Flavin, D Buckley, JP Cooney, D Qualter, D Gannon, P O'Donohoe, M Nikora, F Vainikolo.

Edinburgh – G Tonks, T Brown, N De Luca, M Scott, T Visser, G Laidlaw, R Rees; A Jacobsen, A Titterrell, W Nel; P Parker, S Cox; D Denton, R Grant, S McInally. Reps: A Walker, J Yapp, L Niven, R McAlpine, I van der Westhuizen, C Leck, G Hunter, D Fife.

Ref – M Mitrea (FIR).

Irish Independent

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