Connacht head coach Eric Elwood has made seven changes for his side’s trip to RaboDirect RPO12 champions Ospreys, Saturday, 2.30pm.
Two of the changes from the side beaten by Harlequins last week are positional with George Naoupu moving from his regular number 8 position to lock in place of an injured Mike McCarthy and Robbie Henshaw replacing the injured Eoin Griffin in the centre.
Connacht team to play Ospreys: (15-9) Darragh Leader, Tiernan O'Halloran, Robbie Henshaw, Mata Fifita, Fetu'u Vainikolo, Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion (1-8) Brett Wilkinson, Jason Harris-Wright, Nathan White (c), Michael Swift, George Naoupu, John Muldoon, Willie Faloon, Eoin McKeon.
Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Ronan Loughney, Rodney Ah You, Dave Gannon, Johnny O'Connor, David Moore, Miah Nikora, Danie Poolman.
“Last Saturday, we went toe-to-toe with the English champions and competed with them for the 80 minutes" - Eric Elwood
Mata Fifita replaces Dave McSharry and joins Henshaw in the new centre partnership.
19-year-old Darragh Leader earns his first competitive start for the province at full-back.
Up front, loosehead prop Brett Wilkinson replaces Denis Buckley. Wilkinson is joined in the front row by tighthead Nathan White, who captains the side, and Jason Harris-Wright who earns his first competitive start of the season.
With Naoupu moving forward, Eoin McKeon now wears the number 8 jersey.
Ahead of the game, Elwood said: “Last Saturday, we went toe-to-toe with the English champions and competed with them for the 80 minutes. We played some great rugby and we'll be looking to do the same this weekend against the Ospreys.”
Ospreys: Richard Fussell, Hanno Dirksen, Andrew Bishop, Ashley Beck, Eli Walker, Dan Biggar, Kahn Fotuali’i; Ryan Bevington, Richard Hibbard, Aaron Jarvis, Alun Wyn Jones (Capt), Ian Evans, Joe Bearman, Justin Tipuric, Jonathan Thomas.