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
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London WelshSale vs London Welsh Preview
London Irish vs SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Preview
Harlequins vs WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Preview
Bath vs LeicesterBath vs Leicester Preview
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets vs Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Preview
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Preview
Manawatu vs Southland19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
Connacht 10 - 9 LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Brive 13 - 53 ToulonBrive vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 29 - 15 Pumas
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Exeter310
2Saracens29
3Bath29
4Leicester Tigers29
5Northampton26