Connacht and Ulster have named their respective sides for Friday evening’s Guinness PRO14 clash at the Sportsground in Galway.
Connacht, who are coming off the back of a devastating last-gasp defeat to Leinster at the RDS, have made four changes to their team.
Ireland international Quinn Roux comes into the side to start alongside Gavin Thornbury in the second row. Sean O’Brien comes into the team at blindside flanker with Jarrad Butler switching to number eight and Colby Fainga’a at openside flanker.
Shane Delahunt and Conor Carey come into the front-row alongside Denis Buckley.
Head coach Andy Friend, speaking ahead of the match, knows how important these interprovincial fixtures are.
“These interpro fixtures are massive occasions and when they take place over the Christmas period, they bring that increased level of excitement. We know there will be a big home crowd in the Sporstground and we will need to be up for the occasion with Ulster coming to town. This block of fixtures is hugely important in the context of our season, but we are not looking beyond Ulster on Friday evening.”
Dan McFarland has also made four changes to his team as Ulster look to continue their impressive run of form after toppling Munster last time out.
Three of the changes are in the backline as Johnny McPhillips, Angus Kernohan and Darren Cave all come into the starting XV.
The final change is Nick Timoney who comes into the back-row to partner Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee.
Connacht: Darragh Leader, Cian Kelleher, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Kyle Godwin, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Conor Carey, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Sean O’Brien, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (captain).
Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Peter McCabe, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Paul Boyle, James Mitchell, David Horwitz, Stephen Fitzgerald.
Ulster: L Ludik; H Speight, W Addison, D Cave, A Kernohan; J McPhillips, J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Herring (captain), M Moore, I Nagle, K Treadwell, N Timoney, J Murphy, M Coetzee.
Replacements: A McBurney, T O’Hagan, R Kane, C Ross, G Jones, D Shanahan, P Nelson, S McCloskey.