Vainikolo and McCarthy in for Connacht
Rugby:Connacht coach Eric Elwood has made two changes and two positional switches to his side for Saturday’s RaboDirect Pro12 clash against Newport Gwent Dragons at the Sportsground (5.00pm).
Tonga winger Fetu'u Vainikolo is the only change to the backline, coming in on the left wing for Matt Healy, who injured a hand in last weekend’s 17-0 defeat to Leinster at the RDS.
The frontrow trio of Denis Buckley, Jason Harris-Wright and skipper Nathan White remains while Mike McCarthy comes into the secondrow to partner Michael Swift.
McCarthy’s inclusion allows George Naoupu return to his regular number eight position, with Eoin McKeon shifting across to openside flanker.
Cardiff Blueswill welcome Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny back to the matchday squad for their game against Munsterat Musgrave Park tomorrow (7.30pm).
Centre Roberts will start after recovering from an elbow injury picked up in the Welsh defeat to Australia in November, while Halfpenny is named among the replacements having overcome a neck/shoulder injury sustained in the same match.
Roberts will join debutant Richard Smith in the backline's central pairing, while there is also a new face on the bench, in the shape of 22-year-old Romanian prop forward Petru Tamba.
"We go back into European competition in a week or so and going to Musgrave Park is as good as going to another European destination," Blues back coach Gareth Baber said today. "We want to put a performance in that builds on what we've done over the festive period and progresses us towards where we want to be going.
"The squad has shown what they are capable of and we want to make sure that they are on top of their game when we face Munster."
CONNACHT (v Dragons):R Henshaw; D Poolman, E Griffin, D McSharry, F Vainikolo; D Parks, K Marmion; D Buckley, J Harris-Wright, N White (capt), M Swift, M McCarthy, A Browne, E McKeon, G Naoupu. Replacements (from):E Reynecke, B Wilkinson, R Loughney, M Kearney, E Grace, P O’Donohoe, M Jarvis, T O’Halloran.
CARDIFF BLUES (v Munster):J Tovey; O Williams, R Smith, J Roberts, H Robinson; R Patchell, L Jones; S Hobbs, R Williams, B Bourrust; B Davies, L Reed; J Navidi (capt), S Warburton, R Copeland. Replacements: K Dacey, P Tamba, S Andrews, J Down, L Hamilton, A Walker, C Sweeney, L Halfpenny