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Preview: Connacht v Ospreys

25th November 2011 10:52

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Tom Smith

Tom Smith: Takes over the captaincy

Injuries and international call-ups mean that Ospreys head to the Sportground without a number of first choice players.

The Welsh outfit have lost seven players to the national team, with Warren Gatland's men facing Australia next weekend.

Added to that, a further eight players are unavailable due to injury.

Despite this, head coach Sean Holley is able to name a fairly strong line-up for a game that he knows will be a had-fought encounter.

"Connacht away at the Sportground is always a tough fixture It's a difficult place to play with tough conditions and a partisan crowd, so it's going to be a real experience for some of the youngsters in the squad who may not have played there before. We were very fortunate to secure the win at the Liberty earlier in the season so we are well aware of what to expect on Saturday night," he said

Connacht coach Eric Elwood has been forced into making three personnel changes for the game.

Eoin Griffin (hamstring injury), Mike McCarthy (suspended) and Michael Swift (knee injury) are all unavailable for the match.

George Naoupu replaces Swift in the second row while Henry Fa'afili comes into the midfield in place of Griffin. TJ Anderson comes off the bench to take over te number six jersey from McCarthy.

Form: Connacht have slipped to six straight defeats in all competitions, since their 17-13 victory against Newport Gwent Dragons at the Galway Sportsground on 23 September. Ospreys sit at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table and are unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions, a sequence which includes two draws. The Welshmen have won all four contests they have played against Irish opponents so far this campaign. Connacht have not beaten Ospreys since 9 May 2008 when the Welsh Region visited the Sportsground and perished 24-20.

The teams:

Connacht:
15 Gavin Duffy (C), 14 Brian Tuohy, 13 Dave McSharry, 12 Henry Fa'afili, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Miah Nikora, 9 Paul O'Donohoe, 8 Ray Ofisa, 7 John Muldoon, 6 TJ Anderson, 5 George Naoupu, 4 Dave Gannon, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Stewart Maguire, 19 Mike Kearney, 20 Eoghan Grace, 21 Frank Murphy, 22 Niall O'Connor, 23 Mark McCrea.

Ospreys:
15 Barry Davies, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Richard Fussell, 10 Matthew Morgan, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Chauncey O'Toole, 6 Tom Smith (Capt), 5 James King, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Mefin Davies, 17 Cai Griffiths, 18 Joe Rees, 19 James Goode, 20 George Stowers, 21 Tom Isaacs, 22 Sonny Parker, 23 Hanno Dirksen.

Date: Saturday, November 26
Kick-off: 18:30
Venue: Sportsground
Referee: Andrew McMenemy
Assistant referees: Michael Black, Barrie O'Connell
Television match official: Seamus Flannery

  • Connacht Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Friday , November 21
Connacht vs Zebre19:35
Saturday , November 29
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Friday , December 19
Leinster vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , December 27
Ulster vs ConnachtTBC
Friday , January 9
Connacht vs Edinburgh19:35
Wednesday, January 14
Scarlets vs ConnachtTBC
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Saturday , December 6
Connacht vs BayonneTBC
Saturday , December 13
Bayonne vs ConnachtTBC
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
  • Connacht Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 18
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 10
Benetton Treviso 6 - 9 ConnachtBenetton Treviso vs Connacht Report
Friday , October 3
Connacht 24 - 24 Cardiff Blues
Friday , September 26
Glasgow 39 - 21 Connacht
Friday , September 19
Connacht 10 - 9 Leinster
Friday , September 12
Edinburgh 13 - 14 Connacht
Saturday , September 6
Connacht 16 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Guinness PRO12 Table
PosTeamPPts
3Ulster622
4Munster619
5Connacht618
6Leinster616
7Scarlets614