McGowan omitted


Alan Mcgowan, the fourth highest scorer in the history of the European Cup with 187 points, has been dropped by Leinster for their crucial pool A game at home to Begles-Bordeaux in Donnybrook tomorrow (kick-off 6.30).

Although McGowan is also Leinster's leading scorer with 90 points in nine games this season, he loses his place to Clontarf's Richie Murphy following the province's failure to press home a 17-7 interval advantage, with the wind behind them, in the second-half against Connacht last Saturday.

Two other changes sees the somewhat surprising recall of John McWeeney, ahead of St Mary's team-mate Denis Hickie, and at the expense of Gordon D'Arcy, who, unlike McGowan, is not consoled with a place on the bench. Pat Ward's specialisation as an out-and-out open-side flanker results in his recall for his Clontarf number eight teammate Craig Brownlie.

Meanwhile, Connacht have announced an unchanged side for Sunday's European Shield encounter away to Rovigo in Italy. The Clontarf hooker Bernard Jackman is added to the replacements panel.

The Wales coach Graham Henry has failed in his attempt to coax the Bath wing Ieuan Evans out of international retirement. Evans, 34, who has won 71 Wales caps, decided to concentrate on club rugby last February after a 13-year international career during which he broke three Wales records for the number of caps, tries and appearances as captain.

Leinster: K Nowlan; J McWeeney, nS Horgan, B Carey, G Dempsey; R Murphy, D Hegarty; E Byrne, S Byrne, A McKeen, P Holden, G Fulcher (capt), T Brennan, V Costello, P Ward. Replacements: A McGowan, D Hickie, C Scally, H Hurley, P Smyth, C Brownlie, D O'Brien.

Connacht: W Ruane; A Reddan, P Duignan, M Murphy (capt), N Carolan; S Allnutt, C McGuinness; J Screene, B Mulcahy, M Cahill, G Heaslip, J Duffy, J Charlie, B Gavin, I Dillon. Replacements: D Reddan, O Cobbe, R Southam, J McVeigh or B Jackman, J Maher, J Casserley, S McEntee.