Connacht welcome inter provincial rivals Leinster to the Sportsground on Sunday evening for their RaboDirect Pro 12 game, kick off 5.00pm.
Leinster arrive in Galway six points clear at the top of the table and will be taking on a Connacht side who will be looking to arrest their terrible recent run of form which coincided with their first venture into the Heineken Cup.
The game will also be a homecoming of sorts for a number of ex Connacht players who now wear the Leinster blue. Sean Cronin and Fionn Carr will be keen to give a good account of themselves against their former team mates and Cronin knows what a tricky game Sunday’s encounter will be “It is tough. I played against them with Ireland when we had a warm-up game during the summer,” said Cronin, who will start on the bench.
“You get that feeling that they are trying to get you a small bit, singling you out, but there was a good bit of banter afterwards.
“I know they are on a bit of a losing streak at the minute but form goes out of the window in these derby games. They will be targeting this game as a way to get their season back on track. From being in the Connacht changing room I know how hungry they are going to be.”
While Connacht are sure to put it up to Leinster, given the run that Leinster have been on and the determination of the coaching set up to put in a better performance than the victory over Ulster at the RDS, Leinster are selected to gain another win and start 2012 on a winning note. Leinster by five.
CONNACHT: G Duffy (capt); B Tuohy, E Griffin, K Tonetti, T O’Halloran; N O’Connor, P O’Donohoe; B Wilkinson, A Flavin, R Loughney; G Naoupu, M McCarthy; M Kearney, J O’Connor, J Muldoon. Replacements: E Reynecke, D Buckley, D Rogers, E McKeon, TJ Anderson, F Murphy, M Jarvis, H Fa’afili.
LEINSTER: I Nacewa; D Kearney, E O’Malley, B Macken, A Conway; I Madigan, I Boss; J McGrath, R Strauss, J Hagan; L Cullen (capt), D Browne; R Ruddock, K McLaughlin/S Jennings, L Auva’a. Replacements: S Cronin, H van der Merwe, N White, D Toner, S Jennings/J Murphy, J Cooney, N Reid/F Carr, L Fitzgerald.