Pro12: Connacht hope to shock depleted Glasgow at Scotstoun
Pat Lam makes one change with John Cooney starting at scrumhalf
John Muldoon will line out for Connacht for the 250th time against Glasgow at Scotstoun. Photograph: Getty Images.
Glasgow have, like Leinster, lost a sizable chunk of playing power to the World Cup and fell in their opening match to Scarlets. Connacht coach Pat Lam will see that as vulnerability in his team’s visit to the Pro12 champions’ home ground, although Glasgow’s shrewd coach Gregor Townsend has never been known to show that emotion.
Lam has made just one change to the side that beat Dragons in the opener with John Cooney starting at scrumhalf. Kieran Marmion, released by Joe Schmidt, is on the bench after recovering from a minor hip injury.
Connacht, also without Irish squad members Nathan White and Robbie Henshaw, may feel that as Glasgow have lost 15 players to the Scottish cause, now is as good a time as any to play them in their stronghold.
Townsend has made a number of changes and is giving a debut to winger Junior Bulumakau, who scored against Clermont and Canada in their pre-season matches. There is a sprinkling of seasonal starts including one for international Mike Bllair at scrumhalf.
Glasgow have a strong backrow that includes Rob Harley and Chris Fusaro but they are filling holes and Connacht’s relative lack of flux might see them bolt in the coming weeks.
Captain John Muldoon will line out for his 250th game and is joined in the back row by the first try scorer of the season Nepia Fox-Matamua and Eoghan Masterson, while Ultan Dillane comes on to the bench to replace the injured Eoin McKeon.
GLASGOW: G Bryce; Bulumakau, P Murchie (C), F Lyle, L Jones; R Clegg, M Blair; A Allan, P MacArthur, M Cusack, S Cummins, K Low, R Harley, C Fusaro, A Ashe. Replacements: K Bryce, J Yanuyanutawa, Z agerson, J Eddie, T Holmes, H Blake, G Hart, S Wight.
CONNACHT: T O’Halloran, D Poolman, R Parata, B Aki, M Healy, J Carty, J Cooney; D Buckley, T McCartney, R Ah You, Q Roux, A Browne, J Muldoon (captain), N Fox-Matamua, E Masterson. Replacements: D Heffernan, JP Cooney, F Bealham, U Dillane, B Marshall, K Marmion, C Ronaldson, F Carr.
Referee: I Davies (WRU).
Verdict: Home win.