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Monday 20 November 2017

Home rule central to Bradley's plan

Connacht coach Michael Bradley is urging his men to target winning all four remaining home games in the Magners League, starting this evening (6.30) with a clash against a Newport Gwent Dragons team who have only won once in Galway.

Bradley says that Connacht -- unbeaten at home in all compet-itions since losing to Ulster back in September -- have the ability to make a strong finish to the season if they continue their good run at the Sportsground. They will also entertain Edinburgh, Munster and Leinster in the Magners League as well as their Amlin Challenge Cup tie against Bourgoin on April 10.

"We were very disappointed only to draw with Glasgow, especially after recovering from a poor start," said Bradley .

"The Dragons will be without most of their internationals but they still turned Munster over recently and will present us with a big challenge. We have a good record against them but while we put five tries on them when they came here last year, it will be a lot closer this time," he added.

He has made five changes from the side which conceded a last- gasp try to draw 19-19 with Glasgow last Friday week.

The return from injury of Niva Ta'auso sees Keith Matthews revert to his normal inside centre role with Aidan Wynne dropping to the bench. Liam Bibo takes over from Troy Nathan on the wing, with scrum-half Conor O'Loughlin replacing Frank Murphy, who is out with a hamstring injury.

Sean Cronin's inclusion in the Ireland squad for the Six Nations clash with Scotland sees Adrian Flavin take over at hooker, while Ray Ofisa returns in the back row in place of Johnny O'Connor.

This game was scheduled to be played on January 8 but was called off and tickets purchased then will be valid for today's game.

Verdict: Connacht

Connacht -- G Duffy; L Bibo, N Ta'auso, K Matthews, F Carr; I Keatley, C O'Loughlin; B Wilkinson, A Flavin, J Hagan; M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon, R Ofisa, G Naoupu. Reps: R Loughney, R Morris, B Upton, M McComish, K Campbell, M Nikora, A Wynne.

Dragons -- M Thomas; R Fussell, M Watkins, A Smith, A Brew; J Tovey, J Leadbeater; H Gustafson, T Willis, P Palmer; A Brown, R Sidoli, G Webb; G Thomas, T Faletau. Reps: S Jones, B Castle, H Macdonald, A Coombs, T Riley, J Arlidge, W Evans.

Irish Independent

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