With Bundee Aki away on international duty, Tom Farrell and Eoin Griffin form the centre pairing. Likewise, with Kieran Marmion’s absence, Caolin Blade starts at scrum half.
Having recently announced that he will retire at the end of this season, John Muldoon will captain the side from his number 8 position. He will be joined in the back row by Eoghan Masterson at blindside and openside Naulia Dawai.
During the next block of four games, Connacht take on three of their Conference rivals, including a trip to South Africa to take on the Cheetahs. Head Coach Kieran Keane is well aware of the importance of the upcoming fixtures and the need to get off to a good start against the Ospreys. “We are up for this game, we know the importance of it”, he told reporters at the pre-game press conference. “This is a really important block of games for us and will have a big bearing on our PRO14 season. We have a Quarter Final in the Challenge Cup to look forward to later in the season but there is a lot of rugby to play before that, so our focus is firmly on the league at the moment”.
(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Eoin Griffin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Craig Ronaldson, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Coulson, Tom McCartney, Conor Carey, Andrew Browne, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, Naulia Dawai, John Muldoon (Capt).
Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Gavin Thornbury, James Connolly, James Mitchell, Jack Carty, Pita Ahki.