Connacht make 3 changes for Ospreys clash

Updated: November 25, 2011

Connacht Rugby have announced the starting XV that will face the Ospreys Saturday (The Sportsground, Galway kick-off 18.30)

Head Coach Eric Elwood has been forced to make 3 personnel changes and a number of positional switches to the side that took on Toulouse in the Heineken Cup last weekend with lock Mike McCarthy serving a 2 week ban, secondrow legend Michael Swift nursing a knee injury and Eoin Griffin recovering from a hamstring injury.

The frontrow remains unchanged from the starting lineup from last week with Connacht centurions Brett Wilkinson and Adrian Flavin joining Rodney Ah You. Dave Gannon retains his place in the second row and is joined by George Naoupu who replaces the injured Michael Swift in the engine room of the scrum. The pair played against each other in those positions in the 2004 U21 World Championship final, Dave captaining Ireland and George for New Zealand. TJ Anderson, John Muldoon and Ray Ofisa make up the rest of the pack in a mobile and dynamic back-row .

Paul O’Donohoe and Miah Nikora continue their successful halfback pairing, as do back three Tiernan O’Halloran (left wing), Brian Tuohy (right wing) and captain Gavin Duffy (full back). There is an exciting new centre partnership with Samoan international Henry Fa’afili at 12 joining breakthrough sensation Dave McSharry at 13.

Among the replacements, Eric Elwood can call on the experience of Ethienne Reynecke and Ronan Loughney along with future prospect Stewart Maguire in the frontrow while Mick Kearney and Eoghan Grace, who have both shone for Connacht ‘A’ in recent weeks complete the forward replacements. Frank Murphy and Niall O’Connor are the replacement halfbacks while flying winger Mark McCrea covers the backs.

Connacht XV to face the Ospreys (The Sportsground, Galway Saturday 26th December kick-off 18.30)

15 Gavin Duffy (C)
14 Brian Tuohy
13 Dave McSharry
12 Henry Fa’afili
11 Tiernan O’Halloran
10 Miah Nikora
09 Paul O’Donohoe
01 Brett Wilkinson
02 Adrian Flavin
03 Rodney Ah You
04 Dave Gannon
05 George Naoupu
06 TJ Anderson
07 John Muldoon
08 Ray Ofisa

16 Ethienne Reynecke
17 Ronan Loughney
18 Stewart Maguire
19 Mike Kearney
20 Eoghan Grace
21 Frank Murphy
22 Niall O’Connor
23 Mark McCrea

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