Friday 21 July 2017

Moffat wary of Connacht

TRADITONALLY, Murrayfield hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Connacht, who face Edinburgh at the home of Scottish rugby tonight, writes Donnchadh Boyle.

On their last visit to Scottish rugby's bastion, Connacht were on the receiving end as Edinburgh registered their record Magners League win on a 62-13 scoreline.

Connacht suffered a demoralising defeat at the hands of the Ospreys last weekend. Miah Nikora missed a late kick that could have sealed the win but he retains the out-half position with Ian Keatley held in reserve.

Sean Cronin is on Ireland duty, so Dermot Murphy picks up his ninth Connacht cap in the front row alongside Brett Wilkinson and Jamie Hagan.

However, Gavin Duffy has been released by Declan Kidney and he starts at full-back, but Fionn Carr misses out with a glute injury.

Ireland's recent victory over Samoa is to the fore in Eric Elwood's mind as he hands first starts of the season to Brian Tuohy and Shane Monahan, who excelled in that win. Galway's Andrew Browne returns to the blindside of the scrum as the two Michaels, McCarthy and Swift, renew their partnership in the second row.

Edinburgh coach Rob Moffat has recalled flying wing Tim Visser and he is expecting a much tighter encounter than the last Murrayfield encounter, citing improvements in Connacht since Elwood took over.

"It was a terrific night for us last time against Connacht -- the players gave us everything we'd asked for," said Moffat.

"We're well aware that the margin of victory that game was pretty exceptional, but the guys should be looking at the qualities that produced the result and looking to replicate them this weekend.

"I've been watching Connacht pretty closely this season, and there's no doubt they've really moved up a gear and added a number of impressive things to their game."

Verdict: Edinburgh

Connacht (v Edinburgh) -- G Duffy; S Monahan, E Griffin, K Matthews, B Touhy; M Nikora, F Murphy; B Wilkinson, D Murphy, J Hagan; M Swift, M McCarthy; A Browne, J O'Connor, J Muldoon. Reps: R Loughney, R Sweeney, B Upton, M McComish, C Willis, I Keatley, T Nathan.

Irish Independent

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