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Preview: Gloucester v Connacht

16th December 2011 10:55

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Mike Tindall Jordan Turner Hall Gloucester Harlequins hec 2011

Back for Gloucester: Mike Tindall

Gloucester have made five changes to the side that won in Galway last Saturday for this week's clash with Connacht at Kingsholm.

Gloucester edged a hard-fought fixture between the sides and Head Coach Bryan Redpath has kept faith with the majority of his team but makes two changes to the pack and three to his back line.

Into the front row comes prop Dan Murphy for his first start since the LV= Cup fixture at Leicester on October 21. Also returning at prop is tighthead Rupert Harden.

Redpath also unveils a new half-back pairing in Nick Runciman and Tim Taylor with Rory Lawson and Freddie Burns moving to the bench while Mike Tindall is over his groin injury and partners Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu in the midfield.

"Saturday's win wasn't pretty in parts but it was key to get the result, and we did. Our error count and discipline was much better than of late and that made a huge difference to our performance," said Redpath.

"We've talked about what happened last year in the corresponding fixture when we won in La Rochelle and were then defeated at home against the same side who some people said wouldn't travel very well.

"We know that Connacht will not be coming here just to lie down. Conditions are not looking great which is a great leveller and we're going to have to be mentally strong."

Connacht, who are competing in the Heineken Cup for the first time, have endured a baptism of fire and are still looking for their first victory in the Pool and in European rugby's premier tournament.

The visitors have made two changes to their starting XV.

Johnny O'Connor's timely return to full fitness sees him replace Ray Ofisa, who was taken off with a knee injury last week while Eoin Griffin steps in for Kyle Tonetti, who moves to the bench. The only other change sees Dylan Rogers replace Denis Buckley as replacement prop.

Connacht have recently been boosted with the re-signing of four key contracts and all four will start this weekend's match.

Centres Eoin Griffin and Dave McSharry have both committed the next two years to the Province as has John Muldoon with Johnny O'Connor singing up until at least the end on the 2012/13season.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Tim Taylor, 9 Nick Runciman, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Andy Hazell, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Peter Buxton, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Will James, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Rory Lawson, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Jonny May,

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Mark McCrea, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Jonny O'Connor, 6 Dave Gannon, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 George Naoupu, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Ethienne Reynecke, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Dylan Rogers, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Eoin McKeon, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Kyle Tonetti,

Date: Saturday, December 17
Venue: Kingsholm, Gloucester
Kick-off: 15.40 GMT
Referee: Leighton Hodges

  • Connacht Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Friday , October 10
Benetton Treviso vs Connacht19:00
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
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 18
Connacht vs La Rochelle17:00
Saturday , October 25
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Saturday , December 6
Connacht vs BayonneTBC
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
  • Connacht Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Glasgow 39 - 21 ConnachtGlasgow vs Connacht Report
Friday , September 19
Connacht 10 - 9 LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Report
Friday , September 12
Edinburgh 13 - 14 Connacht
Saturday , September 6
Connacht 16 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulouse623
2Saracens620
3Connacht613
4Zebre60