Six changes to Connacht as pressure piles on Pat Lam

Pro12: Scarlets v Connacht - Parc y Scarlets, 7.35pm. On TV: Live on TG4

Connacht head coach Pat Lam needs to turn things around after a poor start to the campaign. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Connacht head coach Pat Lam needs to turn things around after a poor start to the campaign. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

 

Pat Lam saw enough of last week’s washed-out match in Italy, which Connacht were trailing, to make six changes as the pressure continues to ramp up week by week. What Lam will also understand is that Scarlets are in an even tighter squeeze than the Irish side.

The Llanelli team have failed to register a single league point from any of their last four fixtures in the Guinness Pro12. They have lost their last three games at Parc y Scarlets but have never lost four in a row at the venue since moving there in 2008.

Throw in the fact Connacht have never won in the Welsh town and it makes for a savoury outing all round. Connacht’s last win against Scarlets was in 2004 in Stradey Park.

Scarlets have not been able to capitalise on strong starts with coach Wayne Pivac targeting this match as the one to get their season up and running. “ This really is a big game for us,” said Pivac, probably speaking for both coaches.

Scarlets make just one change with Aaron Shingler returning to the starting team at blindside flanker.

Verdict: Scarlets.

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Eoin Griffin, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Andrew Browne, Ultan Dillane, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (C).

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ronan Loughney, JP Cooney, Lewis Stevenson, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, Shane O’Leary, Cian Kelleher.

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