The side remains virtually unchanged from the team that earned a bonus point victory over Edinburgh 2 weeks ago. Connacht Academy star Mark Dolan retains his spot on the bench and is joined by Eoin Grifin who is returning after a layoff with a hamstring injury.
The starting XV remains unchanged with Ronan Loughney and Jamie Hagan propping alongside Irish International hooker Sean Cronin. With Michael Swift still out with a hand injury Mike McCarthy is partnered by Bernie Upton in the second row whilst the successful backrow of Andrew Browne, captain Johnny O’Connor and Ray Ofisa complete the forwards.
Frank Murphy and Ian Keatley make the half-backs, Keatley has an impressive scoring record in the Magners League with 195 points leaving him 2nd in the accumulator league behind Dan Biggar.
Troy Nathan and Niva Ta’auso are joined by Brian Tuohy and Fionn Carr on the wings. Carr became Connacht’s all-time top try scorer when he scored twice against Edinburgh; he overtook Conor McPhilips’ longstanding record of 32 trys for the Province. Gavin Duffy starts at fullback to complete the Connacht line-up.
As this is Connacht’s last home game of the season, the Sportsground will throw open it’s doors for a family fun-day with bouncy castles, facepainting, giant board-games, rugby themed games and much more.
Family tickets for the event, which starts at 6.00pm, cost £50 for 2 adults and 2 children (U12) and include entry to the marquee where there will be music, food and a chance to mingle with the players before and after the game.
Connacht Rugby XV to face Cardiff Blues
Friday 15th April – The Sportsground – KO 7.45pm
01 Ronan Loughney
02 Sean Cronin
03 Jamie Hagan
04 Mike McCarthy
05 Bernie Upton
06 Andrew Browne
07 Johnny O’Connor (C)
08 Ray Ofisa
09 Frank Murphy
10 Ian Keatley
11 Fionn Carr
12 Troy Nathan
13 Niva Ta’auso
14 Brian Tuohy
15 Gavin Duffy