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Connacht must back up victory over Munster as Edinburgh come to town


Connacht's Robbie Henshaw, left, and Kieran Marmion

Connacht's Robbie Henshaw, left, and Kieran Marmion

Connacht's Robbie Henshaw, left, and Kieran Marmion

Connacht have to back-up what they did to Munster in Galway.

Coach Pat Lam has made just one change bringing in Miah Nikora for Craig Ronaldson, out to concussion, to the pivotal role at fly-half.

"With the pleasing team performance last week against Munster, we are putting out the same match day squad this week with the exception of Craig.

"But, after showing his experience from the bench last week, Miah now comes in to start this important game for us."

It won't be the task it would have been before Edinburgh got the better of Glasgow last week.

"Edinburgh, under astute coach Alan Solomons, are a very powerful and direct team who have shown against top teams like Glasgow and Munster away from home what they are capable of."

Sure enough, South African Solomons knows Irish rugby as well as anyone and he should have his charges properly primed.

They will have the dynamic go-forward from number eight Dave Denton and the searing pace and physcality of natural finisher Tim Visser.

"Like last week, we are expecting tough conditions as well as big, physical contact."

"While there was a lot of excitement around last week's result, at the end of the day, it was four points gained and we need another four points this week," continued Lam.

The reality is that Connacht have sold out the main stand and The Clan Terrace on the basis of what they have done. They just have to keep their consistency levels high.

"Looking at it, we don't believe it's a case of 'backing up' the Munster win, but rather a case of being even better again in our performance this week."

In fact, the Men from the West have won three of their last four against Edinburgh and are hunting a first ever double over the Scottish club.

This is another one of those eight-pointers as Edinburgh have moved slowly up behind The Scarlets as the next best challenger to Connacht's current standing as holders of the Champions Cup slot.

Solomons makes two changes through the introduction of prop Willem Nel and flanker Hamish Watson to the forward effort.

Connacht: M Muliaina; D Leader, R Henshaw, B Aki, D Poolman; M Niokora, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, R Ah You, Q Roux A Muldowney, J Muldoon (capt), W Faloon, E McKeon.

Edinburgh: J Cuthbert; D Fife, M Scott, P Burleigh, T Visser; G Tonks, S Hidalgo-Clyne; A Dickinson, R Ford, WP Nel, A Bresler, B Toolis, R Grant, H Watson, D Denton.

Verdict: Connacht.