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Bullish Lam hails return of big guns ahead of Scottish trip

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Connacht head coach Pat Lam is glad to have the experience of Robbie Henshaw and Kieran Marmion in his team this week. Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Connacht head coach Pat Lam is glad to have the experience of Robbie Henshaw and Kieran Marmion in his team this week. Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Connacht head coach Pat Lam is glad to have the experience of Robbie Henshaw and Kieran Marmion in his team this week. Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Connacht made a significant statement of intent against the weakest Welsh side last weekend; now they must reiterate their vows against the frailest Scottish team.

This is how it must be for Pat Lam’s men; Connacht have historically proved themselves more adept at delivering when least expected. That twee tune has changed.

Robbie Henshaw and Kieran Marmion personify this renewed commitment to sustained excellence; both are Irish internationals and eager to maintain their upward curve as they make their seasonal bows atop the new hybrid surface in Murrayfield.

“It’s great to have the experience of both Robbie and Kieran in the starting team this week,” declared a bullish Lam.

“They are both itching to get back into the Connacht shirt and are great additions to our already young and energetic back line.”

Indeed, it’s a positively cherubic collection behind the pack – average age 22 – as Henshaw takes his preferred 13 jumper, shifting Darragh Leader to his own cherished full-back slot.

Ian Porter, who made his Connacht debut last week, steps aside for Marmion, who partners the exciting Jack Carty at half-back.

Fortunate

“While it’s disappointing to be without Jake Heenan this week, we are fortunate that Willie Faloon can step straight into the openside slot and do a great job,” continued Lam, who adds Aly Muldowney, Craig Ronaldson and Fionn Carr to his bench.

“We were pleased with the outcome of last week’s game but we all knew we had a lot of work to do during the week to improve certain areas of our game that let us down.

“We know we all have to be on the same page to nail the process that is needed to defeat a very strong Edinburgh team at home.”

Alan Solomons’ side slumped all last term but their footprints in Limerick last week were almost as destructive as those of the giant granny.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Connacht,” said Solomons.

Connacht ended a five game losing run with that 16-11 victory at home to the Dragons last Saturday but their only victory in Scotland in their last seven visits was in this fixture two seasons ago.

Verdict: Connacht

EDINBURGH - J Cuthbert; S Beard, P Burleigh, A Strauss, N McLennan; T Heathcote, S Kennedy; A Dickinson, R Ford (capt), J Andress, F McKenzie, O Atkins, T Leonardi, H Watson, C Du Preez. Reps: J Hilterbrand, R Sutherland, WP Nel, A  Bresler, M Coman, S Hidalgo-Clyne, G Hart, J Dominguez.

CONNACHT – D Leader; N Adeolokun, R Henshaw, D McSharry, D Poolman; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, D Heffernan, N White, M Kearney, Q Roux, J Muldoon (capt), W Faloon, E McKeon. Reps: S Henry, F Bealham, R Ah You, A Muldowney, G Naoupu, I Porter, C Ronaldson, F Carr.

Ref – G Conway (IRFU).

Edinburgh v Connacht,

Live, TG4, 7.35

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