Connacht eye second win in Pro14 as they host Cardiff
Andrew Deegan to make debut against a Cardiff Blues side that has lost all three games
Andrew Deegan will make his debut for Connacht on Saturday. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Preview: Connacht v Cardiff Blues
Sportsground, 3.15pm, Sky Sports
Cardiff are zero from three games this season. They lost at home to both Scottish sides. They lost in Dublin because they failed to realise a weakened Leinster were very beatable on the night.
Not that this information guarantees a home win. Connacht look like also-rans again, with 2015 feeling like a very long time ago. There is no shame in losing, even in Galway, to Glasgow but Bernard Jackman’s well-drilled Dragons easily swallowed them whole last week.
Who is the better-looking team on paper? That would be Connacht but Nick Williams is expected to drive Cardiff over the gain line and they have looked decent with ball in hand despite the losing start to the campaign.
But it should be an evenly matched contest.
“We had a good look at Connacht over their first three games and they’re their usual selves,” said Cardiff coach Danny Wilson. “A gritty side at home who play a fair amount of rugby, which Pat [Lam] has left that imprint in them and they’re playing from quite deep.”
What has changed is outhalf with Andrew Deegan making his debut.
Little is known of the 22-year-old as the Australian arrives from the semi-professional ranks.
If Connacht scouting is up to scratch he should be good enough to guide them to a second victory from four outings. Otherwise the season is stumbling into October well below standards set before Kieran Keane arrived as head coach.
Connacht: D Leader, C Kelleher, B Aki, C Ronaldson, R Scholes, A Deegan, K Marmion, D Buckley, D Heffernan, F Bealham, U Dillane, Q Roux, E Masterson, J Butler, J Muldoon (capt). Replacements: S Delahunt, D Coulson, C Carey, G Thornbury, E McKeon, C Blade, T Farrell, S Ili.
Cardiff Blues: R Williams, A Cuthbert, R Lee-Lo, W Halaholo, T James, S Shingler, L Williams, B Thyer, K Dacey, T Filise, S Davies, D Welch, J Turnbull, J Navidi, N Williams. Replacements: E Lewis, C Domachowski, K Assiratti, G Earle, O Robinson, T Williams, J Evans, M Morgan.
Referee: M Mitrea (Italy).