Carty and Heffernan return for Connacht’s trip to Edinburgh

Heach coach Andy Friend makes seven changes for fixture pencilled in for victory

Preview: Edinburgh v Connacht

Venue: The DAM Health Stadium, Edinburgh.

Kick-off: 7.35pm.

On TV: Live on Premier Sports and TG4.

Despite their fine victories away to the Scarlets and at home to the Stormers after trailing by ten points in both games, Connacht aren't far off must-win territory again as they face the team above them in fifth place.

Andy Friend makes seven changes, which see the return of Jack Carty and Dave Heffernan from Irish duty. Heffernan is joined in the front row by Jordan Duggan and Jack Aungier, while lock Oisín Dowling returns to partner the in-form Leva Fifita, who correctly avoided suspension after that ridiculous red card away to the Scarlets.

Conor Oliver returns at openside flanker after a relative respite last week, when nonetheless making a key contribution off the bench.

Carty captains the side at outhalf and is joined at halfback by Caolin Blade after his impressive cameo off the bench last week.

“This block was seen as crucial in terms of where we may end up at the end of the season,” said Friend. “As such, we targeted three wins from three games, so we have one more hurdle to jump in order to achieve that goal.

“There’s no doubt this will be a difficult challenge away to a strong Edinburgh side, but we can take a lot of confidence from our last two outings, not only from the results, but more importantly the manner in which we achieved our victories.”

Edinburgh led the table prior to three successive away defeats by Ospreys, Leinster and Munster, although they were far from disgraced in any of them, and are unbeaten in all six games at their new home.

Mike Blair has made six changes to the team that faced Munster a fortnight ago, recalling hooker Dave Cherry, tighthead prop Angus Williams, lock Pierce Phillips, Fijian international number 8 Mesulame Kunavula, scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos and centre Chris Dean.

Connacht have won on four of their last six visits to the Scottish capital.

EDINBURGH: H Immelman; R Moyano, J Lang, C Dean, E Boffelli; B Kinghorn, H Pyrgos (capt); B Venter, D Cherry, A Williams, P Phillips, G Young, B Muncaster, C Boyle, M Kunavula. Replacements: A McBurney, H Courtney, L Atalifo, J Campbell, R Brown, B Vellacott, J van der Walt, M Currie.

CONNACHT: J Porch; P Sullivan, S Arnold, T Daly, A Wootton; J Carty (capt), C Blade; J Duggan, D Heffernan, J Aungier, O Dowling, L Fifita, C Prendergast, C Oliver, P Boyle. Replacements: S Delahunt, T Tuimauga, D Robertson-McCoy, N Murray, A Papali'I, K Marmion, T Farrell, J Butler.

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU, 29th league game).

Forecast: Connacht to win.

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