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Preview: Connacht v Toulouse

11th December 2013 09:36

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MAXIME MEDARD TOULOUSE ZEBRE HEINEKEN CUP

On the wing: Maxime Médard

Toulouse have made changes to their side that lost at home to Connacht ahead of Saturday's visit to Galway.

Head coach Guy Novès has brought in Maxime Médard for Hosea Gear on the left wing while there is a new half-back combination as Lionel Beauxis and Jean-Marc Doussain replace Jean Pascal Barraque and Jano Vermaak respectively.

Yannick Nyanga comes in for Yacouba Camara on the flank, Romain Millo-Chluski is in for Edwin Maka at lock while Christopher Tolofua and Schalk Ferreira will start in the front-row.

Meanwhile, Connacht head coach Pat Lam has named his side for the Sportsground clash.

Lam has made three starting XV changes to the team that defeated the four-time European champions 16-14 last weekend. All these changes come in the pack as Connacht look to record three consecutive wins for the first time in their Heineken Cup history.

Jason Harris-Wright and Rodney Ah You come in to the front-row in place of Sean Henry and Nathan White. Galway-man Eoin McKeon has been named to start at number eight in a back-row with John Muldoon and Jake Heenan.

In the backs, 20-year-old Irish international Robbie Henshaw is at full-back while Dan Parks and try-scorer Kieran Marmion make up the half-back pairing.

"Our week was certainly disrupted with an outbreak of the flu affecting twelve of our squad members. We had to curtail the session yesterday and were restricted in what we could do. But these things are out of control and thankfully a lot of the guys are feeling better today after some rest," said Lam.

"We've made some changes to the pack after what was a hugely physical game last week. Unfortunately we lost Michael Swift to injury but we have the experience of Andrew (Browne) returning to the match squad this week.

"Last weekend's game was the biggest challenge we faced as a team, and we overcame that, but now we're up against another massive challenge. We're playing a vengeful Toulouse who will come here determined to turn around last week's defeat.

"Like everyone we want the win, but as with every game our focus is on the process of winning the game. It's going to be an fantastic atmosphere with the Sportsground sold out and I know that will only add to the occasion and drive the team on."

The teams:

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Fionn Carr, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Craig Clarke (capt), 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Sean Henry, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Nathan White, 19 Andrew Browne, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Frank Murphy, 22 Craig Ronaldson, 23 Gavin Duffy.

Toulouse: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Yann David, 11 Maxime Médard, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Theirry Dusautoir, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Romain Millo-Chluski, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Yoan Montes, 19 Joe Tekori, 20 Gillian Galan, 21 Sebastien Bezy, 22 Gael Fickou, 23 Hosea Gear.

Date: Saturday 14th December
Venue: The Sportsground
Kick-off: 18:00 GMT
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris, Chris Williams (both Wales)
TMO: Paul Adams (Wales)

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Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulouse623
2Saracens620
3Connacht613
4Zebre60