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Published: 12:43 | 10/2/16

Three changes for Connacht

There are three changes to the Connacht starting XV that overcame Scarlets for Thursday's clash with Newport Gwent Dragons in the Guinness PRO12.

Jack Carty has been ruled out through injury with his place at out-half going to AJ MacGinty. He is joined in the half-back line by Caolin Blade, while Bundee Aki movse to outside centre to make way for Craig Ronaldson.

Tiernan O'Halloran continues at full-back and is joined in the back three by Danie Poolman and Matt Healy.

There is just one change to the pack as Rodney Ah You comes into the front row alongside Denis Buckley and Tom McCartney with George Naoupu locking down with Aly Muldowney in the second row.

John Muldoon, Jake Heenan and Eoghan Masterson start in the back row.

"With a short week for us in terms of preparation and travel, we began our planning for Dragons before the break and the boys returned on Monday refreshed and eager to get back into their work. It's great to have Kieran (Marmion) Finlay (Bealham) and Ultan (Dillane) back from Irish camp for this game but given that they haven't trained with us this week, they will add impact from the bench," head coach Pat Lam said.

"The Dragons are in good form and are playing some great team rugby. It's clear for us to see that they are a different side to the one we faced at the Sportsground in round 1. They have already beaten our fellow Irish provinces Munster and Leinster at Rodney Parade and were desperately unlucky to lose in the final minute to Ulster in Belfast last week.

"So we are under no illusions as to how tough the challenge will be in Newport, and in tough conditions. Once again our focus will be on our team work and work ethic on and off the ball to enable us to put in a performance that will continue to keep us in the top four of the competition."

Connacht (XV v Dragons): T O'Halloran; D Poolman, B Aki, C Ronaldson, M Healy; AJ MacGinty, C Blade; D Buckley, T McCartney, R Ah You, G Naoupu, A Muldowney, J Muldoon, J Heenan, E Masterson.

Replacements: D Heffernan, R Loughney, F Bealham, U Dillane, E McKeon, K Marmion, P Robb, R Parata.

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