Connacht unchanged for trip to Dragons

After three league wins in a row Pat Lam resists tinkering for the first time this season

Connacht’s Kieran Marmion (left) and  Eoghan Masterson are set to start against Dragons. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Connacht’s Kieran Marmion (left) and Eoghan Masterson are set to start against Dragons. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Fri, Mar 21, 2014, 15:38

Connacht coach Pat Lam has decided against making any changes to his starting XV ahead of the PRO12 match against Newport-Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade on Sunday (3.05pm).

It is the first time this season Lam has opted against alterations and comes after three wins on the bounce, the last being a 32-point victory over Benetton Treviso at the Sportsground.

It means 20-year-old flanker Eoghan Masterson will earn his fourth start of the season on the openside, while Robbie Henshaw is retained at fullback, alongside Tiernan O’Halloran and Connacht’s record try scorer Fionn Carr, having returned from the Ireland camp.

“It’s been a while since our last outing but we’re in good shape after training hard during the break,” said Lam today. “Coming off the back of three straight wins gives us confidence but we’re very much aware that we haven’t won four in a row in quite some time. We also have to look at the threat of the Dragons who are a strong outfit at Rodney Parade. They’ve only been narrowly beaten by Leinster and Munster at home. If you look at all the games they play there, their line speed is faster, their contact is faster. The crowd are also a very passionate bunch which is another challenge for visitors.”

“But we know what we need to do. We’ve targeted this next block of games and everything is about the process we go through as a team to earn the wins and valuable points to move up the table.”

Connacht (v Dragons) : R Henshaw; T O’Halloran, E Griffin, D McSharry, F Carr; D Parks, K Marmion; D Buckley, J Harris-Wright, R Ah You; A Muldowney, M Kearney; J Muldoon (captain), E Masterson, E McKeon. Replacements: D Heffernan, R Loughney, N White, M Swift, A Browne, F Murphy, M Nikora, D Leader

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