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Connacht seeking a third win on the trot as Munster visit the Showgrounds

MUNSTER will name their matchday squad for the game against Connacht tomorrow and it is expected that there will be a number of changes from the Champions Cup win over Racing 92 last Saturday. The weather has not been kind to this fixture in the past but with the forecasters indicating more moderate conditions for the West of Ireland than in recent days, we can look forward to a battle royale between these two provinces.
Coach Rassie Erasmus said last Monday that this will be another big test for his side: “Connacht have won their last two matches and they have home advantage so they will be making it tough for us. The Sportsground is always a difficult venue but we need to get something out of this one. We may rest Tommy O’Donnell (pictured) for this game because he has played every minute of every game recently.”
Both sides are facing familiarisation periods with their new coaches. Munster’s new boss Johaan Graan spent last week in Limerick and was in the home dressingroom before and after the match in Thomond Park before heading back to South Africa. He will have been impressed with what he experienced. Connacht’s Kieran Keane has a tough job replacing Pat Lam but the two wins in recent weeks will have boosted confidence.
Last week-end Connacht beat Worcester 15-8 in Galway in the Chellenge Cup. Coach Keane’s response was: “Probably would have been tragic if we’d lost it, but I thought it was a slip back to be honest. Back to old habits.”
Connacht led 8-0 at half-time and 15-5 midway through the second half but Worcester tagged on a penalty to snatch a bonus losing point which was enough reason for Keane to say there was need to improve. Whether that improvement is good enough to beat Munster remains to be seen.
Connacht rested their captain John Muldoon but they are sure to include his inspirational leadership on Friday.
“We needed our captain to be bang on for Munster,” said Connacht coach Keane.
Munster face a busy run-in to 2018. After Friday night’s visit to Galway they play the Newport Gwent Dragons in Cork on November 3, Zebre away on November 26, Ospreys in Cork on December 2, Leinster in Thomond Park on St Stephen’s Day and on New Year’s Day they are in Kingspan Stadium, Belfast to take on Ulster.
The game against Connacht on Friday night is being shown live on TG4 and kick-off is 7.35.

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