Planet Rugby

Preview: Connacht v Edinburgh

14th February 2014 07:31

Share:

Roddy Grant Edinburgh Rugby 2012

Workhorse: Roddy Grant

Edinburgh boss Alan Solomons has named an unchanged starting lineup for Saturday's PRO12 visit to Connacht at the Sportsground.

The men in black and red were due to play Dragons last Sunday but for the inclement Welsh weather and an unplayable pitch (the club's second successive PRO12 fixture to fall foul of the elements), which delayed the debut of Andries Strauss, and the first starts of Mike Coman, Carl Bezuidenhout and James Hilterbrand to the game in Galway.

The only changes to the squad named last week appear on the bench, where Scotland front-row forwards Ross Ford and Geoff Cross return from international duty during a fallow week in the Six Nations to replace elite development duo Geoge Turner and Ewan McQuillin.

"Missing the game against the Dragons in Newport was big because we have now not played for a month, which will have an impact. We will naturally be a bit rusty," said Solomons.

"The positive side is that we have had more time to practice because there are, during the Six Nations, quite substantial changes to the team.

"However, all things being considered, the players have prepared well and are ready for this game."

Meanwhile, Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made three personnel changes to the team that lined up against Glasgow last weekend.

Following his start in last week's Eagles game, Dave McSharry makes a welcome PRO12 return to partner Eoin Griffin in the centre. His appearance allows Craig Ronaldson to shift to fly-half where he forms the half-back pairing with Kieran Marmion.

Galway-born Tiernan O'Halloran has been named to start on the left wing and features in an all-Irish qualified back line.

Up front, Connacht's highest capped player Michael Swift is brought into the second-row. His introduction means that Andrew Browne moves back to openside flanker.

Number eight John Muldoon will captain the side at the Sportsground.

Form: Connacht have won just one of their last twelve PRO12 matches: 14-11 at home to the Dragons on 21 December.

The Irishmen have lost their last four contests with Scottish opponents since beating Edinburgh at Murrayfield last April.

Edinburgh have not played in the tournament since Boxing Day having suffered two postponements in away games due to waterlogged pitches.

The Scotsmen have won just once on the road this season: 16-10 at Gloucester in the Heineken Cup in December.

Edinburgh's only victory in Ireland since September 2009 was at Connacht in December 2012.

The last eight fixtures between the two sides have been evenly split with four wins apiece, with Edinburgh winning by the narrowest of margins on their last visit to Galway in round 10 last season.

The teams:

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Fionn Carr, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Craig Ronaldson, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon (c), 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Michael Swift, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughneym. 18 JP Cooney, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Darragh Leader

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Mike Coman (c), 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 James Hilterbrand, 1 Wicus Blaauw
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Sam Beard, 23 Harry Leonard

Date: Saturday, February 15
Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Venue: The Sportsground
Referee: Claudio Blessano (Italy)
Assistant referees: Olly Hodges (Ireland), Mark Connolly (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Preview
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615