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RaboDirect Pro12 preview: Ospreys take aim at Connacht; Munster host Dragons in Cork

Last Updated: 28/09/13 5:23pm

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Justin Tipuric: The flanker returns to action for his club after touring with the British and Irish Lions

Justin Tipuric: The flanker returns to action for his club after touring with the British and Irish Lions

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Ospreys will look to maintain their unbeaten start to the season when they take on Connacht in one of two RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures to take place on Saturday.

The in-form Welsh region have so far managed two wins and a draw, including destroying Edinburgh 44-10 last time out.

Their hopes of recording a victory over Irish opponents for the first time in five outings are boosted by the return of British and Irish Lion Justin Tipuric to their pack.

Connacht, in contrast, have endured a difficult start to the new campaign. Pat Lam's side have just four points to their name and have won just once in their last six league outings. They have, though, been victorious in their last two home fixtures against Welsh regions.

Lam makes four alterations from the side that went down 18-7 to Ulster at home last Saturday.

Hooker Sean Henry comes in for the injured Jason Harris-Wright while Andrew Browne is named at number six, meaning Jake Heenan switches to openside flanker in the pack.

Fionn Carr makes way for Danie Poolman, who is named in his favoured position on the right wing, while summer signing Craig Ronaldson will make just his fourth professional appearance at fly-half.

O'Connell returns

Meanwhile, Munster will have the considerable presence of Paul O'Connell on the bench as they look to bounce back from last week's loss to Treviso when they host the Dragons.

The veteran lock is joined amongst the replacements by Felix Jones, who could play his first game of the season after recovering from shoulder surgery.

Keith Earls wears the No 13 shirt, forming a new-look midfield combination with Ivan Dineen.

Kris Burton steps into the number 10 jersey for the Dragons in place of Jason Tovey, while the visitors have opted for youngster Jonathan Evans at scrum-half.

The form guide does not make good reading for the Welsh team - they have triumphed just once in league action on their travels since March 2012, while Munster have won their last three outings at Musgrave Park in Cork.

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