Planet Rugby

Preview: Connacht v Zebre

28th February 2013 12:20

Share:

SKY_MOBILE Dan Parks - Connacht

Dan Parks: Back at 10 for Connacht

Connacht boss Eric Elwood has made three changes to his starting Xv for Friday's clash with Zebre at the Sportsground in Galway.

Robbie Henshaw, who was on international duty last week, is named at full-back for his 21st Connacht appearance.

27-year-old Brian Murphy, who made his Connacht debut in Cardiff last week, will start again at inside centre, in a partnership with fellow Galway native Eoin Griffin.

Gavin Duffy is named on the wing, replacing Fetu'u Vainikolo who moves to the bench.

Dan Parks was forced to withdraw late from last week's fixture due to a niggling hamstring injury. He returns to fly-half duties tomorrow night.

There is just one change up front with Mick Kearney replacing Michael Swift in the second row.

Swift sustained a knee injury during training earlier in the week. Connacht's highest capped player is waiting on scan results to determine the severity of the injury.

Meanwhile, Zebre boss Christian Gajan has rung the changes to his side after last weekend's narrow 14-13 defeat to the Dragons in Parma.

Amongst the backs, Italian internationals Paolo Buso and Gonzalo Garcia replace Alberto Chiesa and Samuele Pace respectively.

While Buso is a straight swap for Chiesa at fly-half, Matteo Pratichetti moves out one position to outside centre in place of Pace while Garcia will wear the number 12 jersey which he (Pratichetti) wore against the Welsh region.

In the forwards, Josh Sole is switched from blindside flank to lock, in place of Michael van Vuuren, while Mauro Bergamasco takes over on the side of the scrum.

There is also a new front-row with David Ryan and Andrea de Marchi taking over from Luca Redolfini and Matias Aguero, as the first-choice props, while Andrea Mancini replaces Carlo Festuccia at hooker.

Form: Connacht have won three of their last four games in the PRO12, whilst the Irishmen have been victorious in their last three fixtures at the Sportsground in all competitions. Connacht have won their last five matches against Italian opponents in all tournaments.Zebre recorded their second loss by the narrowest of margins in being defeated 13-14 by Newport Gwent Dragons in Parma on Sunday - it was the fifth occasion in the PRO12 that Zebre have been leading inside the final quarter of a game only to eventually lose the match.The two sides have met on three occasions this season - once in the PRO12 and twice in the Heineken Cup - with Connacht victorious every time. Zebre lost 20-25 on their only previous visit to the Sportsground on January 18.

The teams:

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Brian Murphy, 11 Gavin Duffy (c), 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Nathan White, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 TJ Anderson, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Fetu'u Vainikolo.

Zebre: tbc

Date: Friday, 1 March
Venue: The Sportsground, Galway
Kick-off: 19:45
Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant referees: Michael Black (Ireland), Ed Kenny (both Ireland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
Sunday , April 27
Toulon vs Munster15:30
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs Edinburgh19:05
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
Sunday , April 27
Wasps vs Bath13:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 10 - 20 Ospreys
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058