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Henshaw and Aki continue in midfield as Connacht make one change

Miah Nikora has been selected at out-half for the clash with Edinburgh tomorrow in Galway.

Connacht's backline is unchanged apart from the out-half slot.
Connacht's backline is unchanged apart from the out-half slot.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

PAT LAM HAS made just one change to his starting XV for Connacht’s Guinness Pro12 clash with Edinburgh at the Sportsground tomorrow evening [KO 19.35].

It’s an enforced personnel alteration at that, with Miah Nikora coming into the side at out-half in place of Craig Ronaldson, who remains sidelined due to the concussion he sustained against Munster on New Year’s Day.

29-year-old New Zealander Nikora gets just his third start of the campaign, with previous out-half incumbent Jack Carty returning to the match-day squad on the bench. Nikora is partnered in the halfbacks by the in-form Ireland international Kieran Marmion.

Importantly, Connacht’s midfield duo of Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw get their third outing together, having showed signs of a growing understanding during the win over Munster last time out.

Darragh Leader continues on the wing in a back three that again includes Mils Muliaina and Danie Poolman, while John Muldoon leads the side from the back row as usual.

Much of the focus around Connacht this week has understandably been built on their excellent win over Anthony Foley’s Munster, but head coach Lam has indicated that his team have moved on ahead of the meeting with eighth-placed Edinburgh.

While there was a lot of excitement around last week’s result, at the end of the day it was four points gained and we need another four points this week,” said Lam.

“Looking at it, we don’t believe it’s a case of ‘backing up’ the Munster win, but rather a case of being even better again in our performance this week.”

Meanwhile, Alan Solomons’ Edinburgh have made three changes to their team to face Connacht, with WP Nel and Hamish Watson starting as Roddy Grant moves to the blindside.

Connacht

15. Mils Muliaina
14. Darragh Leader
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Bundee Aki
11. Danie Poolman
10. Miah Nikora
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Denis Buckley
2. Tom McCartney
3. Rodney Ah You
4. Quinn Roux
5. Aly Muldowney
6. John Muldoon (captain)
7. Willie Faloon
8. Eoin McKeon

Replacements:

16. Dave Heffernan
17. Ronan Loughney
18. Finlay Bealham
19. Ultan Dillane
20. George Naoupu
21. John Cooney
22. Jack Carty
23. Dave McSharry

Edinburgh

15. Jack Cuthbert
14. Dougie Fife
13. Matt Scott
12. Phil Burleigh
11. Tim Visser
10. Greig Tonks
9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne

1. Alasdair Dickinson
2. Ross Ford (captain)
3. WP Nel
4. Anton Bresler
5. Ben Toolis
6. Roddy Grant
7. Hamish Watson
8. David Denton

Replacements:

16. Neil Cochrane
17. Rory Sutherland
18. John Andress
19. Fraser McKenzie
20. Tomas Leonardi
21. Sean Kennedy
22. Jade Te Rure
23. Andries Strauss

Marmion learning good habits at Pat Lam’s flexible Connacht

Munster hoping to fill the void left by JJ Hanrahan with Australian centre

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Murray Kinsella

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