Ospreys present formidable opposition to Connacht

In-form welsh side travel to Galway looking to stay on their push up Pro12 table

Pat Lam has made four changes to his Connacht side for visit of Ospreys. Phtograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.

Pat Lam has made four changes to his Connacht side for visit of Ospreys. Phtograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.

 

Connacht v Ospreys, The Sportsground, Saturday, 7.35pm, TG4

Pat Lam has made four personnel changes to the team that put 50 points on Zebre six days ago. The league leaders have won their last four matches but Ospreys arrive with just one defeat – 9-22 to Leinster – in their last nine Pro12 games.

However, Connacht beat Ospreys when they last met at Liberty Stadium in October and should feel well enough equipped to do the same here.

Starting team

Lam has made changes around the team with scrumhalf Caolin Blade, prop Rodney Ah You, lock George Naoupu and academy player Seán O’Brien at openside flanker all coming into the starting team.

As with the other provinces, Joe Schmidt has released players not involved in the Six Nations game against England with Kieran Marmion and Finlay Bealham taking their places on the bench.

“They have won this competition on two occasions already and have consistently been in the top four over the years with quality squad depth,” said Lam. “They’re certainly in form, having lost just one game in their last nine and we know they will be hungry to continue their climb up the table.”

The Welsh side have made six changes for the visit, with Josh Matavesi and Rhys Webb coming into the backline. In the pack there are starts for Paul James, Dmitri Arhip, Joe Bearman and Olly Cracknell.

CONNACHT: T O’Halloran; N Adeolokun, B Aki, C Ronaldson, M Healy; AJ MacGinty, C Blade; D Buckley, T McCartney, R Ah You, G Naoupu, A Muldowney, S O’Brien, J Heenan, J Muldoon. Replacements: D Heffernan, R Loughney, F Bealham, B Marshall, J Connolly, K Marmion, P Robb, D Poolman.

OSPREYS: D Evans; J Hassler, JJ Engelbrecht, J Matavesi, B John; S Davies, R Webb; P james, S perry, D Arhip, J King, R Thornton, J Bearman, O Cracknell, D Baker. Replacements: S Otten, G Thomas, A Jarvis, R Bernardo, J Collier, B Leonard, O watkin, E Walker.

Referee: G Clancy (IRFU)

Verdict: Connacht

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