Friday 13 December 2019

Connacht make seven changes for Munster derby

Connacht head coach Pat Lam
Connacht head coach Pat Lam

Pat Lam has made seven personnel and two positional changes to the Connacht team for tomorrow’s interpro clash with Munster at the Sportsground.

After putting out an unchanged Connacht team for the last four games, Lam has rung the changes.

Willie Faloon will make his first start in seven months and is named at openside flanker, joining Eoin McKeon and captain John Muldoon in the back row.

Ronan Loughney and Andrew Browne are promoted from the bench and represent the only other changes to the pack.

There is also a reshuffle to the backline with scrum half Kieran Marmion the only player to be lining out in the same position as last week. Last week's try scorer Darragh Leader has been named to start at fullback while Ireland international Robbie Henshaw shifts to outside centre to partner Eoin Griffin.

Wingers Matt Healy and Danie Poolman return to the starting line-up for tomorrow’s game in place of Fionn Carr and Tiernan O’Halloran, who has been ruled out with a quad tear sustained in training mid-week.

Miah Nikora is handed the reins at outhalf and completes an all-Irish qualified starting team.

“It doesn’t get any bigger than Munster at home,” Lam said today.

“It’s always a tough game for us no matter where we play them. It’s been seven weeks since we’ve played at the Sportsground and with a huge crowd expected, it’s certainly going to be a special night. We can feel the buzz in training, the buzz around town. Everyone is up for it.”

“But we know this is a must-win game for Munster too.

“Like us, they’ll be hurting after their loss last week and they’ll want to lay down a marker ahead of their big game with Toulon. We expect a big back lash and we need to be able to deal with it.”

Connacht team to play Munster: Darragh Leader; Danie Poolman, Robbie Henshaw, Eoin Griffin, Matt Healy; Miah Nikora, Kieran Marmion; Ronan Loughney, Jason Harris-Wright, Rodney Ah You; Mick Kearney, Andrew Browne; John Muldoon (captain); Willie Faloon, Eoin McKeon.

Replacements: Jack Dinneen, Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham, Aly Muldowney, Conor Gilsenan, Frank Murphy.

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