CONNACHT HAVE NAMED a strong side for their opening RaboDirect PRO12 match of the season, against the Cardiff Blues at the Sportsground.
The team will be captained by Gavin Duffy, who will be supported by Fetu’u Vainikolo and Tiernan O’Halloran on the wings.
The backline is completed by Mata Fifita and Eoin Griffin in the centre.
Of the starting forwards, John Muldoon, Mike McCarthy, and Johnny O’Connor have almost 450 caps between them while Michael Swift earns his 220th cap for the Province.
Ronan Loughney, with 105 caps, provides plenty more experience with George Naoupu, Denis Buckley and Ethienne Reynecke completing the firepower of the forwards.
Connacht XV: Gavin Duffy; Tiernan O’Halloran, Eoin Griffin, Mata Fifita, Fetu’u Vainikolo; Miah Nikora, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Ethienne Reynecke, Ronan Loughney; Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy; John Muldoon, Johnny O’Connor; George Naoupu.
Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Rodney Ah You, Finlay Bealham, Dave Gannon, Willie Faloon, David Moore, Matthew Jarvis, Robbie Henshaw.