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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Team news: Just one change for Connacht ahead of Biarritz return

Johnny O’Connor comes in at openside flanker for the injured Willie Faloon.

Dave McSharry and Fetu'u Vainikolo link up.
Dave McSharry and Fetu'u Vainikolo link up.
Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

CONNAGHT HAVE MADE just one, enforced change from the side that defeated Biarritz 22-14 in Galway last Friday.

Eric Elwood’s men travel to the south of France today and prepare to take on Basque in round four of the Heineken Cup.

Johnny O’Connor replaces Willie Faloon in the back row where he is joined by Andrew Browne and Eoin McKeon.

Faloon was ruled out of selection earlier this week due to a fractured eye socket he incurred at the Sportsground during the impressive home win.

Dan Parks will lead the side out tomorrow evening as Connacht look for a historic French double. Parks is this season’s leading points scorer on 48 points, bringing his all-time total to 403 points.

The Scottish international out-half is two points short of reaching the half-century mark in the Heineken Cup for the fifth time in eight seasons.

Robbie Henshaw, who has signed a two-year, full contract with Connacht, will line out at full-back.

Fetu’u Vainikolo, who opened the province’s scoring last week with a wonderful breakaway try, is on the left wing, while Danie poolman and Dave McSharry’s burgeoning centre partnership continues.

On the bench, forwards Nathan White and George Naoupu make a welcome return to the squad having both missed out on last week’s round three clash.

Connacht: 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, J O’Connor, E McKeon.

Replacements: E Reynecke, D Buckley, N White, D Qualter, G Naoupu, P O’Donohoe, M Nikora, M Jarvis.

Biarritz, two-time Heineken Cup finalists, have also named their team for the encounter at Parc des Sports Aguilera and Imanol Harinordoquy returns to captain the side.

Biarritz: I Balshaw; T Ngwenya, J.P Barraque, D Traille, A Brew; J Peyrelongue, D Yachvili; F Barcella, B August, F Gomez Kodela; E Lund, P Taele; W Lauret, R Lakafia, I Harinordoquy (capt).

Replacements: J Genevois, W Blaauw, T Synaeghel, T Dubarry, M Lund, Y Lesgourgues, S Burotu, M Bosch.

The match kicks off at 8pm and will be live on Sky Sports.

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Patrick McCarry

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