Friday 19 January 2018

Connacht can draw on belief

Hugh Farrelly

GLASGOW may be regarded as one of the more progressive sides in the league over the past few seasons, but they are a side Connacht thoroughly enjoy facing.

Even though Glasgow's win over the Scarlets last weekend keeps them right in the Pro12 play-off mix, while Connacht are operating at the opposite end, the home side have genuine reasons for confidence.

After the famous Heineken Cup win over Harlequins that ended a run of 14 straight defeats, Eric Elwood's men earned a decent bonus point in Cardiff last week and, back in the Sportsground this evening, Connacht will be determined to give their supporters another victory.

Sean Lineen's side have only a solitary victory in Galway since 2001 while, even though he has injury problems to contend with, Elwood is still able to pick a strong side, with his first-choice front five and the promising Eoghan Grace coming in at openside alongside established back-rowers John Muldoon and George Naoupu.

Dave McSharry was a late withdrawal but this allows Henry Fa'afili in at 12 and, if he can recreate the form he showed at the start of the season, Connacht will be well served. There is also the encouraging sight of Eoin Griffin back on the bench after injury.

"I'm just looking forward to getting stuck in and doing my best," said Grace. "We know that past results have gone our way so there's a bit of confidence in the squad."

Glasgow are no mugs, but Connacht have a bit of belief about them again and could sneak it -- on the assumption that Niall O'Connor kicks his points.

Verdict: Connacht

CONNACHT -- G Duffy (capt), F Vainikolo, K Tonetti, H Fa'afili, T O'Halloran, Niall O'Connor, P O'Donohoe; B Wilkinson, A Flavin, R Loughney; M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon, E Grace, G Naoupu. Reps: E Reynecke, D Buckley, S Maguire, D Gannon, M Kearney, D Moore, M Jarvis, E Griffin.

GLASGOW -- P Murchie; T Seymour, T Nathan, G Morrison (capt), D Lemi; R Jackson, H Pyrgos; R Grant, P MacArthur, J Welsh; R Verbakel, T Ryder; R Harley, C Fusaro, R Wilson. Reps: F Gillies, G Reid, G Hunter, N Campbell, D Weir, A Dunbar, C Shaw, C Forrester.

REF -- P Allan (Scotland).

Connacht v Glasgow,

Live, TG4, 5.30

Irish Independent

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