Thursday 22 March 2018

Muldoon back for Connacht

John Muldoon. Photo: Getty Images
John Muldoon. Photo: Getty Images
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

John Muldoon makes a long awaited return to the Connacht jersey this evening to boost Eric Elwood's resurgent charges.

The Ireland international missed the start of the season with an arm injury he picked up against the All Blacks last summer. A reoccurrence before Christmas has meant that he has yet to play in 2011. He returns on the bench as Connacht for the visit of winless Aironi as Connacht attempt to build on their recent run which has seen them win three of their last four matches.

"It's great to have John back. He got the all-clear this week, so, hopefully, it will all go well and he will have a great finish to the season," Elwood said.

"We have a chance to secure our best ever finish to the Magners League and that's what we are aiming for. We have started to put the results together, but we can't, and won't, underestimate Aironi. They're improving all the time.

"They will be like Treviso and bring a big physical challenge up front, but we need to deal with that and not take them on too close," added Elwood, whose only change to his starting side sees Adrian Flavin come in for Irish replacement hooker Sean Cronin.

The Italian newcomers are on an upward curve, Elwood believes, and he is wary of them ahead of the first of back-to-back clashes with the struggling Viadana based side.

"It is understandable that they have taken time to gel, but nobody has taken a bonus point off them in their last seven games. They're improving all the time; we must respect them," he added.

If Connacht are to improve, they must show their superiority this evening against a team who have only won once all season -- albeit against Biarritz in the Heineken Cup.

With only Cronin taken by the international set-up, the have almost a full strength team and should be eyeing a bonus point.

Verdict: Connacht

Connacht -- G Duffy; B Tuohy, N Ta'auso, T Nathan, F Carr; I Keatley, F Murphy; B Wilkinson, A Flavin, J Hagan; M Swift, M McCarthy; A Browne, J O'Connor, R Ofisa. Reps: D Murphy, R Loughney, R Ah You, B Upton, J Muldoon, C Willis, M Nikora, K Matthews.

Aironi -- J Marshall; K Robinson, G Pavan, M Pratichetti, D Demas; R Bocchino, T Tebaldi; Alberto de Marchi, R Santamaria, U Gamboa; J Furno, M Bortolami; J Sole, G Krause, N Williams. Reps: L Ferraro, Andrea de Marchi, L Redolfini, G Biagi, N Cattina, G Toniolatti, G Pizarro, G Rubini.

Connacht v Aironi,

Live, TG4, 7.45

Irish Independent

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