Frank Murphy will skipper the Connacht side from scrum-half for Saturday’s Magners League clash against Newport-Gwent Dragons.
Irish internationals Sean Cronin and Gavin Duffy make their return following their summer tours with Ireland, while New signing Ezra Taylor is included at number eight. Cillian Willis and Rob Sweeney will look to make a big impact from the bench.
Speaking during the week about the clash, head coach Eric Elwood said that though Connacht have a good record against the Dragons in the Sportsground (Connacht have won four out of the last five home games against them), neither team has a run of form as its the first match so nothing will be taken for granted.
Connacht team to face Newport Gwent Dragons in the Magners League at the Sportsground, Saturday, 5.30pm:
1 Brett Wilkinson, 2 Sean Cronin, 3 Jamie Hagan, 4 Michael Swift, 5 Bernie Upton, 6 Michael McCarthy, 7 Ray Ofisa, 8 Ezra Taylor, 9 Frank Murphy (C), 10 Ian Keatley, 11 Fionn Carr, 12 Keith Matthews, 13 Niva Taauso, 14 Troy Nathan, 15 Gavin Duffy.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Rob Sweeney, 19 Dave Nolan, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Tiernan OHalloran.