Connacht face tough Edinburgh test without Robbie Henshaw
Pat Lam sticks to same backline that featured in milestone win over Ospreys
Connacht number eight Eoghan Masterson during squad training. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Connacht v Edinburgh
The Sportsground, Saturday,
October 31st, 7.45pm
Connacht may not be swaggering, but there is reason for optimism when Edinburgh hit the Sportsground this evening.
Pat Lam’s squad has to date posted the most points and scored the most tries in the Guinness Pro12, and a victory over Edinburgh would ensure they stay with the league’s only unbeaten side, the Scarlets, with whom they are level on points.
Edinburgh also started well, enjoying an unbeaten run of four until coming unstuck last week against Zebre. Connacht are preparing for a physical battle against Alan Solomon’s side, but with home advantage and coming off last weekend’s notable victory over the Ospreys, they are in good shape.
They achieved last weekend’s long overdue milestone with a young side, and Lam has kept faith with the entire back line, while bringing in the experienced Tom McCartney, Andrew Browne and John Muldoon into the pack.
“Obviously Nathan returning is a big boost for us and we’re pleased to have him involved this week. After a busy few games in the World Cup, Robbie is not far off and we should see him next week against Treviso, ” said Lam.
CONNACHT: T O’Halloran; D Leader, B Aki, C Ronaldson, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, R Ah You, A Muldowney, A Browne, J Muldoon (capt), N Fox-Matamua, E Masterson. Replacements: D Heffernan, F Bealham, N White, Q Roux, E McKeon, I Porter, R Parata, N Adeolokun.
EDINBURGH: B Kinghorn; D Hoyland, C Dean, S Beard, W Helu; P Burleigh, S Hidalgo-Clyne; R Sutherland, N Cochrane, J Andress, A Bresler, F McKenzie, M Coman (capt), R Grant, N Manu. Replacements: G Turner, A Dell, S Berghan, A Toolis, C De Preez, S Kennedy, D Fife, N McLennan.
Referee: Leighton Hodges (WRU).