Tuesday 12 December 2017

Carolan's Eagles seek one against the head

A 61-metre Darragh Leader penalty, proved to be the last kick of the game
A 61-metre Darragh Leader penalty, proved to be the last kick of the game
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Connacht Eagles are yet to win away from home in this season's competition, but they will be looking to put that right today when they take on table-toppers Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane.

The Eagles will take comfort from the fact that they are the only side to beat Rotherham in Pool 3. A 61-metre Darragh Leader penalty, which proved to be the last kick of the game, gave Connacht a dramatic two-point victory in Galway in October.

That was certainly the highlight of their pool campaign thus far and, despite the fact they occupy bottom spot, a win today would put them just one point behind Rotherham in what is a very tight pool.

Nigel Carolan can call upon vastly experienced scrum-half Frank Murphy to lead what is, for the most part, a very young side.

Tiernan O'Halloran is named at full-back, while Shane Layden makes a welcome return on the wing.

Up front, hooker David Heffernan, who came off the bench in the recent Pro12 games against Munster and Leinster, is named in the front-row alongside senior props Ronan Loughney and JP Cooney.

Youngster Rory Moloney, who captained the Ireland U-19s last month, continues his fine season and starts at openside flanker.

Rotherham, who are flying high in the Championship, have named former Munster player Sean Scanlon at full-back.

They come into the game on the back of six straight wins and will be keen to exact revenge for the late defeat at the Sportsground.

Verdict: Rotherham

Rotherham Titans -- S Scanlon; J Broadley, L Hayes, J Roberts, C Wilson; D Murphy, D White; T Williams, B Sowrey, M Tampin; B Thomas, D Sanderson (capt); A To'oala, A Birch, L Pearce. Reps: T Cruse, M Dias, R Stout, A Rieder, J Preece, J Pablo Socino, B Rath.

Connacht Eagles -- T O'Halloran; S Layden, C Finn, B Murphy, D Panter; T Leader, F Murphy (capt), R Loughney, D Heffernan, JP Cooney; S O'Brien, D Qualter; M Fifita, R Moloney, E Masterson. Reps: J Rael, F Bealham, P Reilly, A McCloskey, M Walsh, R Parata, S Macauley.

Irish Independent

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