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The Connacht side to face Cardiff Blues

03/12/2015 | Racing

The Connacht side to face Cardiff Blues at Arms Park tomorrow night features eight personnel changes and one positional switch from the side that won at Thomond Park last weekend.

Darragh Leader comes on to the right wing for his 50th Connacht appearance while Tiernan O’Halloran shifts to fullback. Jack Carty is named at outhalf and scrum half Ian Porter earns his first PRO12 start of the season. There is a new front row with the introduction of Ronan Loughney, Dave Heffernan and Rodney Ah You while Quinn Roux returns from injury to partner Aly Muldowney in the second row.

Captain John Muldoon becomes the first player to break the 200-cap barrier in the PRO12 when he leads the side out in the Welsh capital tomorrow night. The Galway man, who turned 33 on Monday, is named in the back row with Academy flanker James Connolly and the returning Number 8 Eoin McKeon. Both Jason Harris-Wright and Conan O’Donnell are named among the front row replacements. Academy backs Peter Robb and Rory Parata are also named on the bench, the former in line to make his PRO12 debut, having started in the centre against Enisei-STM last month.

Commenting on the team selection and the upcoming game, head coach Pat Lam said: “We have another big game on the road again this week. Cardiff has been a difficult fixture for us the past few seasons and they are very tough to beat at home. They have some quality, experienced players in their squad and they will view this game as a chance to get back to winning ways.  “We know we will have to be at our best and fully focused as a team to get the four points on offer in another vital PRO12 game, before attention switches to Europe.

“With the short turn around and following a very physical game against Munster, we obviously see some changes in the side this week. While we lost four more guys to injury in the last game, we also have players coming back into contention. And with competition as high as ever, it makes our job for selection that bit more difficult but that’s what we want as coaches.” "I’d also like to give a special mention to our skipper and warrior Mul (John Muldoon) who consistently epitomises what we're about and leads his province into battle for the record-breaking 200th time in the PRO12." 

Connacht team to face Cardiff Blues

Tiernan O’Halloran
Darragh Leader
Bundee Aki
Craig Ronaldson
Matt Healy
Jack Carty
Ian Porter

Ronan Loughney
Dave Heffernan
Rodney Ah You
Quinn Roux
Aly Muldowney
John Muldoon (captain)
James Connolly
Eoin McKeon

Replacements:

Jason Harris-Wright
Conan O’Donnell
Finlay Bealham
George Naoupu
Sean O’Brien
Kieran Marmion
Peter Robb
Rory Parata

Unavailable/Injured:  Tom McCartney, Denis Buckley, JP Cooney, Andrew Browne, Ben Marshall, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Jake Heenan, Eoghan Masterson, John Cooney, AJ MacGinty*, Fionn Carr, Danie Poolman, Robbie Henshaw, Conor Finn, Api Pewhairangi.

*AJ MacGinty suffered a meniscal tear to his knee during the game against Munster. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on Thursday and is facing 3 – 4 weeks of recovery.

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