Connacht Rugby Head Coach Pat Lam has announced his match day 23 for tomorrow’s Guinness PRO12 round 13 clash with Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium (Kick Off: 1.30pm – live on SKY Sports 1).

There are three personnel changes to the starting team that lined out against Munster six days ago.

With Kieran Marmion rested this week, scrum half John Cooney makes a timely return from injury to start in an otherwise unchanged backline.

Up front, the back row is changed with the introduction of Sean O’Brien at blindside flanker and Naulia Dawai at Number 8 for his first Connacht start.

Tom McCartney will captain the side in the absence of John Muldoon who had, up to now, started every game this season but was ruled out this week with a hamstring injury.

From the bench, Galway man Eoin McKeon is in line to make his 100th Connacht appearance if he is called upon in Wales tomorrow afternoon.

Commenting on the upcoming game, Pat Lam said:

“There is real excitement in the camp as we face another great challenge away to Ospreys who are flying high in the PRO12 championship. They have one of the best all-round games as well as the most successful record at home this season, highlighted by their 29 points earned out of a possible 30.

“Our focus remains on improving our game and if we can nail our execution and detail, it will give us a great chance of challenging for the points on offer.”

Team to face Ospreys

Saturday January 7th, kick off 13:30, Liberty Stadium  

(Connacht caps in brackets)

15           Tiernan O’Halloran (115)
14           Niyi Adeolokun (46)
13           Rory Parata (23)
12           Peter Robb (23)
11           Matt Healy (81)
10           Jack Carty (69)
9             John Cooney (28)

1             Denis Buckley (105)
2             Tom McCartney (53) (captain)
3             Finlay Bealham (69)
4             Quinn Roux (44)
5             James Cannon (6)
6             Sean O’Brien (28)
7             Jake Heenan (45)
8             Naulia Dawai (3)

Replacements:

16           Dave Heffernan (72)
17           JP Cooney (41)
18           John Andress (1)
19           Lewis Stevenson (9)
20           Eoin McKeon (99)
21           Caolin Blade (35)
22           Danie Poolman (76)
23           Ciaran Gaffney (1)

Injured / Unavailable: Ronan Loughney, Conor Carey, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ivan Soroka, Conan O’Donnell, Ultan Dillane, Ben Marshall, Andrew Browne, Nepia Fox-Matamua, John Muldoon, Eoghan Masterson, Marnitz Boshoff, Shane O’Leary, Craig Ronaldson, Stacey Ili, Bundee Aki, Eoin Griffin, Cormac Brennan, Cian Kelleher, Josh Rowland, Darragh Leader.

Ospreys v Connacht
At Liberty Stadium
Kick off 1.30pm
Live on Sky Sports 1

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU, 59th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Gary Conway (IRFU), Dewi Phillips (WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Gwyn Bowden (WRU)
TMO: Neil Paterson (SRU)

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