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Lam desperate for Connacht to protect home record

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Connacht coach Pat Lam is keen for his side's focus to remain on preserving their unbeaten run. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Connacht coach Pat Lam is keen for his side's focus to remain on preserving their unbeaten run. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Connacht coach Pat Lam is keen for his side's focus to remain on preserving their unbeaten run. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Since Pat Lam's arrival at Connacht, the Sportsground has become something of a fortress.

The emphasis that he has placed on becoming a formidable side at home has been evident and although it is still relatively early in the season, Connacht's form has been largely built on their unbeaten home record.

Mils Muliaina made his eagerly awaited debut last week in a thumping 43-3 victory over Zebre, and he will be looking to inspire what is rapidly becoming a seriously exciting backline.

Scarlets come into this evening's game on the back of a hugely impressive 19-9 win over Glasgow Warriors but Lam is keen for his side's focus to remain on preserving their unbeaten run.

"One of our goals this season is protecting our Sportsground and it's something we've been very pleased about," Lam said.

"The boys set that for themselves as a goal. They really want to protect this ground."

Robbie Henshaw misses out after failing to recover in time from a hip injury sustained in Ireland's win over Australia last week but Lam does welcome back Rodney Ah You.

Muliaina continues at full-back while fellow Kiwi Bundee Aki starts in midfield alongside Dave McSharry.

Hooker Tom McCartney, a third New Zealander, comes in for his first Connacht start to replace the injured Jason Harris-Wright.

Scarlets are captained by Scottish international John Barclay while Regan King plays in the centre.

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"Six of the top seven play each other either this week or in the next round and, with that, we have to win, particularly at home," Lam said.

Without the Champions Cup to look forward to next week, a win this evening is a must for Connacht.

Verdict: Connacht

Connacht: M Muliaina; D Poolman, B Aki, D McSharry, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, R Ah You; Q Roux, A Browne; J Muldoon (capt), E McKeon, G Naoupu. Reps: D Heffernan, R Loughney, F Bealham, M Kearney, W Faloon, J Cooney, C Ronaldson, D Leader.

Scarlets: S Evans; H Robinson, M Tagicakibau, R King, K Phillips; S Shingler, A Davies; P John, K Myhill, P Edwards; G Earle, J Snyman; A Shingler, J Davies, J Barclay (capt). Reps: R Elias, W Jones, J Adriaanse, L Rawling, R Pitman, K Hardy, J Lewis, G Owen.

Referee: L Hodges (Wales)

Connacht v Scarlets, live, TG4/Sky Sports, 7.30pm


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