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Preview: Connacht v Glasgow

16th February 2012 11:03

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Pat MacArthur taking contact for Glasgow Warriors

In at hooker: Pat MacArthur

Glasgow will be looking to break a poor recent run in Galway when they take on Connacht in the RaboDirect PRO12 at the Sportsground on Saturday.

Sean Lineen's side have not tasted victory on the west coast of Ireland since a 40-23 win in April 2007. The closest they have come to success in the interim was a 19-19 draw in March 2010, when a last-gasp try from James Eddie kept them on course for the end-of-season play-offs.

A similar objective will inform the Warriors' bid to achieve a positive result this weekend, with their recent good tournament form positioning the club in third place going into the Round 15 games.

As an indicator of how tough a battle awaits them, Glasgow need only recall the 37-8 defeat they suffered in the same fixture on the very same date last year. They haven't beaten Connacht at any venue since October 2009.

"The defeat in Connacht last season was our worst performance and result of the campaign, and everyone involved this weekend is desperate to avoid coming away feeling as bad as we did that day," head coach Lineen told www.glasgowwarriors.org.

"We've racked up a few good results in the RaboDirect PRO12, and were pleased with the way the team performed in beating Scarlets at Firhill, but we're at a stage of the campaign where every performance has to be absolutely spot on.

"That's doubly the case at a tough away venue like Connacht, where you've got a passionate home team and crowd against you. We've not done well in Galway of late, and that's something we need to put right to ensure we stay in the right area of the RaboDirect PRO12 table."

Encouraged by the team's display in seeing off the men from Llanelli, Lineen has kept personnel changes to a minimum for the visit to the Sportsground.

The one switch in the starting line-up sees Pat MacArthur replace Dougie Hall at hooker.

Among the replacements will be the RaboDirect PRO12's leading points scorer Duncan Weir, who was an unused substitute for Scotland in their Six Nations match against Wales last Sunday. The side will be captained by Graeme Morrison, who now sits second in the list of most individual minutes completed by any player in the competition. Al Kellock is fourth.

Connacht boss Eric Elwood is forced into one change for the encounter, with flanker Ray Ofisa ruled out by a knee injury. The 24-year-old Eoghan Grace comes in at number seven in his place to win just his second cap for Connacht.

Having made his debut against Ulster earlier in the season, Grace is looking to make an impact having joined the Irish outfit from Exeter in the off-season.

"I'm delighted to be selected; it's been a real rollercoaster of a year so to be given the opportunity to start in front of the home crowd is a huge boost," he said.

"I had a good run at it up in Ulster and it was a huge experience but I'm really looking forward to the Sportsground crowd this weekend. I'm just looking forward to getting stuck in and doing my best, we know what's ahead of us but we also know that past results have gone our way so there's a bit of confidence in the squad."

Form: Connacht's only win in their last 16 matches in all competitions was 9-8 at home to Harlequins in the European Cup on 20 January. Connacht have not won in the RaboDirect PRO12 since Dragons visited the Sportsground on 23 September. Glasgow Warriors have climbed into third place in the RaboDirect PRO12 table courtesy of their 19-9 win over the Scarlets last weekend. The Warriors have not won away from home since they visited Aironi on 5 November. Connacht are unbeaten in this fixture since Glasgow's 34-20 win at Firhill on 23 October 2009. Glasgow's solo win in Galway since 2001 was 40-23 on 13 April 2007.

The teams:

Connacht:15 Gavin Duffy (C), 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Kyle Tonetti, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Paul O'Donohoe, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Eoghan Grace, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements:16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Stewart Maguire, 19 Dave Gannon, 20 Mick Kearney, 21 Dave Moore, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Henry

Fa'afili.

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Troy Nathan, 12 Graeme Morrison (capt), 11 David Lemi, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Tom Ryder, 4 Rob Verbakel, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Finlay Gillies, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 George Hunter, 19 Nick Campbell, 20 Duncan Weir, 21 Alex Dunbar, 22 Colin Shaw, 23 Calum Forrester.

Date: Saturday, February 18
Kick-off: 17:30
Venue: The Sportsground
Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Leo Colgan, Sean Gallagher
Television match official: Jude Quinn
Assessor: Jack Sheehan

  • Connacht Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Friday , September 26
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Saturday , October 11
Benetton Treviso vs ConnachtTBC
Friday , October 31
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Friday , November 21
Connacht vs Zebre19:35
Saturday , November 29
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
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 12
Edinburgh 13 - 14 ConnachtEdinburgh vs Connacht Report
Saturday , September 6
Connacht 16 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gonsConnacht vs Newport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulouse623
2Saracens620
3Connacht613
4Zebre60