Tuesday 12 December 2017

High-flying Connacht prepare for 'physical battle'

Pat Lam: 'We are under no illusions of the physical battle we face'
Pat Lam: 'We are under no illusions of the physical battle we face'
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Connacht's impressive start to the season continued last weekend when they beat Ospreys but coach Pat Lam knows that another tough test lies ahead this evening (6.45).

Connacht welcome Edinburgh to Galway and just four points separate the two sides with the Westerners just one place off top spot.

Lam has resisted the temptation to bring Robbie Henshaw straight back into the fold but he should feature next week against Treviso. Nathan White, however, is named amongst the replacements with Lam making just three changes to the starting XV.

Tom McCartney, Andrew Browne, and John Muldoon all return to bolster the pack.

"While we're happy with where we're at so far, we know it's only going to get tougher, and this week the focus has been all about what we need to do next," Lam said.

"We are under no illusions of the physical battle we face and with that in mind, it's great to be able to bring in the experience of guys like Tom, John and Andrew.

"We're really looking forward to playing at home again and protecting our home record is number one on the agenda."

Edinburgh have included 18-year-old full-back Blair Kinghorn in their side as they look to bounce back from last weekend's shock defeat away to Zebre.

With the exception of Hidalgo-Clyne and Helu, who returned to the squad following Tonga's exit at the pool stages, the Scots are still without their World Cup players.

Edinburgh claimed victory from their visit to Galway last season but Connacht are high on confidence and should keep pace at the summit of the table.

Verdict: Connacht

Connacht - T O'Halloran; D Leader, B Aki, C Ronaldson, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, R Ah You; A Muldowney, A Browne; J Muldoon (capt), N Fox-Matamua, E Masterson. Reps: D Heffernan, F Bealham, N White, Q Roux, E McKeon, I Porter, R Parata, N Adeolokun.

Edinburgh - B Kinghorn; D Hoyland, C Dean, S Beard, W Heli; P Burleigh, S Hidalgo-Clyne; R Sutherland, N Cochrane, J Andress; A Bresler, F McKenzie; M Coman (capt), R Grant, N Manu. Reps: G Turner, A Dell, S Berghan, A Toolus, C du Preez, S Kennedy, D Fife, N McLennan. REF - L Hodges (WRU)

Irish Independent

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