Connacht eager to win last home match
It will be an emotional game as several line out for final time at the Sportsground
Connacht’s Gavin Duffy is expected to play his final game at the Sportsground against Cardiff. Photograph: Huw Evans/Inpho
Pat Lam has made just one change to his Connacht team to take on Cardiff Blues in the last home game of the season. Lock Aly Muldowney slots into the second row alongside Mick Kearney with Andrew Browne giving way.
The Welsh side are three points ahead of Connacht in eighth place on the league table. It’s a match where several players in the Connacht squad will be playing for the last time in the Sportsground including the now venerable Gavin Duffy, Frank Murphy and former Scotland international Dan Parks. All three players start the game from the bench.
Connacht Players’ Player and Back of the Year Kieran Marmion will begin the match at scrumhalf for his 25th start this season, partnering Miah Nikora at half back with Robbie Henshaw named at outside centre. Henshaw links up with Eoin Griffin, who will also be playing his final home game at the Galway ground before departing for London Irish next season.
“Cardiff are confident coming off the back of three good wins and in contrast we’re after three straight losses,” said Lam.
“ We’re both fighting for strong finishes to the season and I’ve no doubt it will be a hard-fought game.
“There is of course a lot of emotion attached to this game and it’s the last time a lot of guys will get the chance to play in front of the home crowd. It’s a great opportunity for us all to acknowledge the contribution of these true Connacht servants.
“As a team, we’ve spoken a lot this week about channelling all that emotion into doing our jobs well and putting ourselves in a position to finish where no Connacht team has finished before.”
Connacht: D Leader: D Poolman, R Henshaw, E Griffin, M Healy; M Nikora, K Marmion; R Loughney, J harris-Wright, R Ah You, A Muldowney, M Kearney, J Muldoon (C), W Faloon, E McKeon. Replacements - D Heffernan, D Buckley, F Bealham, M Swift, A Browne, F Murphy, D Parks, G Duffy