Connacht v Munster - RaboDirect PRO12 match preview

Last Updated: 21/12/12 2:21pm

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Head coach Eric Elwood has made two changes to the starting XV as Connacht prepare to face Munster at The Sportsground on Saturday.

Connacht have won two of their last three inter-provincial encounters and are pursuing a clean sweep of 2012 home victories against the three other provinces.

The back line remains unchanged while up front, Ronan Loughney makes way for Nathan White who captains the side on Saturday.

Versatile forward George Naoupu will start in the second row alongside Mike McCarthy. Veteran lock Michael Swift and 22-year-old centre Eoin Griffin have both returned from injury and are named on the bench.

Eoghan Grace, who has captained the Connacht Eagles this season, scoring a try in last weekend's B&I Cup victory over Cross Keys, is also named on the bench.

Meanwhile, James Coughlan, who won his 100th cap at Vicarage Road last Sunday, is one of five Munster players who started against Saracens listed to line-out on Saturday.

The game also sees the return from injury of Denis Hurley, Tommy O'Donnell and Sean Dougall, who had a run out against his old club Rotherham Titans in the British & Irish Cup last Friday.

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 George Nauopu, 3 Nathan White (c), 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Dennis Buckley, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Michael Swift, 20 Eoghan Grace, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Eoin Griffin.

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Luke O'Dea, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Paddy Butler, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 David Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Sean Henry, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Sean Dougall, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Danny Barnes.

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