Connacht have been boosted by the return of Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Tom Farrell and Caolin Blade from international duty and are named in the Connacht squad to play Ospreys in the Sportsground on Saturday (Kick Off 2:45pm).
Dillane and Roux continue their second row partnership that started the Six Nations game against Italy last weekend. They join a front five that includes props Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham with Shane Delahunt coming in at hooker.
The back row remains unchanged from the game against Glasgow, with captain Jarrad Butler starting at number 8 and Eoin McKeon and Colby Fainga’a at blindside and openside respectively.
Kieran Marmion starts his second game in a row at scrum half after returning from injury. He forms a half back partnership with Kyle Godwin who comes in at out half.
In the midfield Peter Robb gets his first start of the season after impressing off the bench last time out. He is joined in the centre by the returning Tom Farrell.
The back three is unchanged with Stephen Fitzgerald and Matt Healy on the wings and Tiernan O’Halloran at full back.
With Connacht sitting three points ahead of Ospreys in Conference A of the PRO14, Head Coach Andy Friend knows how important a home win could prove against their conference rivals; “We have trained well and prepared well this week. We have seen a really positive response from the players after a disappointing result last weekend in Glasgow. We will continue to focus on our game and what we can control, as we have done all season. We know every game now is a must win and with a two week break before our next game we are determined to finish this block on a high”, Friend said.
Commenting on his team selection, he added: “We are boosted by four of our players coming back from international duty. They bring a huge amount of experience to our match day squad”, he added.
(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Stephen Fitzgerald, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, Matt Healy, Kyle Godwin, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Ultan Dillane, Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).
Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Paul Boyle, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Cian Kelleher.