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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Lock in: McCarthy back in harness for Connacht

The formidable international second row is one of two welcome changes ahead of Biarritz’ visit to the Sportsground.

McCarthy in, O'Connor out.
McCarthy in, O'Connor out.
Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

ERIC ELWOOD HAS made just two changes to the side which narrowly lost out to Edinburgh in the Rabodirect Pro12 last week.

Connacht take on Biarritz at the Sportsground tomorrow with the welcome addition of internationals Mike McCarthy and Fetu’u Vainikolo.

McCarthy is drafted straight back into the second row alongside Mick Kearney in the absence of the injured Michael Swift. The change means Andrew Browne can revert to his more familiar role as blindside flanker, forcing Johnny O’Connor out of the starting XV and onto the bench.

Willie Faloon continues at openside flanker alongside number eight Eoin McKeon who will win his 20th cap for the province.

The back-line sees just one expected change, with Vainikolo filling the number 11 jersey he made his own in the early stage of the season  vacated by injured captain Gavin Duffy.

Hooker Ethienne Reynecke is one name who has come off the growing Connacht injury list. He will take a place on the bench as cover for Jason Harris-Wright with Denis Buckley and JP Cooney filling the other front row spots among the replacements.

Connacht (v Biarritz): R Henshaw; T O’Halloran, D Poolman, D McSharry, F Vainikolo; D Parks (capt.) K Marmion: B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, R Loughney; M Kearney, M McCarthy; A Browne, W Faloon, E McKeon.

Replacements: E Reynecke, D Buckley, JP Cooney, D Qualter, J O’Connor, P O’Donohoe, M Nikora, M Jarvis.

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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