Preview: Ospreys v Connacht

Date published: September 29 2011

Connacht coach Eric Elwood has made three changes to the side that beat Dragons for Friday's PRO12 clash with Ospreys.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood has made three changes to the side that beat Dragons for Friday's RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Ospreys.

The Irish outfit have made a promising start to the season, winning three of their first four games.

As a result, Elwood has kept faith in the back-line that downed the Dragons. Elwood has, however, juggled his pack.

Dylan Rogers replaces Rodney Ah You at tighthead prop while Michael Swift returns from illness to take the place of Dave Gannon who drops to the bench.

TJ Anderson comes in on the flank in what will be the backrower's first start for the province.

Meanwhile, Ospreys Head Coach Sean Holley said his unbeaten team still had room for improvement.

“We are getting the outcome on the scoreboard but there is still plenty for us to work on. We are tweaking a few things and ever trying to improve the players we've got,” said Holley.

“We're quite a young group, mixed with some experienced fellas, and it's important that we keep pushing the standards and getting things right. Even though the scoreboard has been taking care of itself, aspects of our game haven't been spot on.

“The most promising thing for us is we are fielding 22 guys who are Welsh and Hanno who will soon qualify for Wales. There's a good mix in terms of age and experience in the group.

“Connacht are a really tenacious side, well coached and well drilled. They lose very few at these sort of periods and it makes them a tough proposition. They've got a good start so they're on the bounce.”

Form: Ospreys have made their best start to a season since they won their first seven matches of the 2004/05 campaign. Ospreys have lost just once at Liberty Stadium since last October: 20-22 to Munster on 23 April. Connacht have won three of their four RaboDirect PRO12 games this season to reside in 3rd place in the standings. Connacht's only victory in Wales since 2004 was 13-11 at the Dragons on 18 April 2008. Ospreys have won their last six matches against Connacht, whilst the Irishmen's last victory on Ospreys soil came at the Gnoll on 21 November 2004.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Barry Davies, 14 Richard Fussell, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Hanno Dirksen, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Justin Tipuric (C), 6 Tom Smith, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Mefin Davies, 17 Cai Griffiths, 18 Joe Rees, 19 James King, 20 Joe Bearman, 21 Matthew Morgan, 22 Sonny Parker, 23 Kristian Phillips.

Connacht:15 Gavin Duffy (C), 14 Brian Tuohy, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Henry Fa'afili, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 TJ Anderson, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Dylan Rogers, 2 Ethienne Reynecke, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Stewart Maguire, 19 Dave Gannon, 20 Ray Ofisa, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 James Loxton.

Date: Friday, September 30
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Kick-off: 19:30 (18:30 GMT)
Referee: Stefano Penne
Assistant Referees: James Jones, Wayne Davies