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Preview: Connacht v Munster

21st December 2012 12:36

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Munster s James Coughlan evades Northampton

Munster captain: James Coughlan

Connacht boss Eric Elwood has made two changes to the starting XV for Saturday's PRO12 clash with Munster at The Sportsground.

Elwood's troops have won two of their last three interprovincial encounters and are pursuing a clean sweep of 2012 home victories against the three other provinces.

The back line remains unchanged while up front, Ronan Loughney makes way for Nathan White who captains the side tomorrow.

Versatile forward George Naoupu will start in the second row alongside Mike McCarthy. Veteran lock Michael Swift and 22-year-old centre Eoin Griffin have both returned from injury and are named on the bench for tomorrow's derby clash.

Eoghan Grace, who has captained the Connacht Eagles this season, scoring a try in last weekend's B&I Cup victory over Cross Keys, is also named on the bench.

Meanwhile, James Coughlan, who won his 100th cap at Vicarage Road last Sunday, is just one of five players who started against Saracens listed to line-out on Saturday in a game that sees the return from injury of Denis Hurley, Tommy O'Donnell and Sean Dougall who had a run out against his old club Rotherham Titans in the British & Irish Cup last Friday.

Form: Connacht have won just one of their last five RaboDirect PRO12 matches: 18-3 at home to Benetton Treviso on 3 November. Connacht have won two of their last three encounters with fellow Irish provinces, and are going for a clean sweep of victories against the three other provinces in Galway this season. Munster have won three of their last four PRO12 games, whilst the Munstermen's solitary away victory since the opening weekend was 24-18 at Cardiff Blues on 2 November. Munster have won just one of their last four games against fellow Irish provinces in the PRO12. Connacht's only win over Munster since 1986 was 12-6 at the Sportsground on 28 December 2008.

The teams:

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 George Nauopu, 3 Nathan White (c), 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Dennis Buckley, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Michael Swift, 20 Eoghan Grace, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Eoin Griffin.

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Luke O'Dea, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Paddy Butler, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 David Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Sean Henry, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Sean Dougall, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Danny Barnes.

Date: Saturday, December 22
Kick-off: 5:15
Venue: The Sportsground
Referee: Dudley Phillips
Assistant Referees: Paul Haycock, Simon McDowell
TMO: Marshall Kilgore

  • 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