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Connacht head over to the brand new Cardiff Arms Park to face a stong Cardiff side.

Starting XV: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Tiernan O’Halloran, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion
1 Brett Wilkinson, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 3 Nathan White, 4 Michael Swift(c), 5 Andrew Browne, 6 John Muldoon, 7 Willie Faloon, 8 George Naoupu
Replacements: 16 Sean Henry, 17 Rodney Ah You, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Aly Muldowney 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Paul O’Donohoe, 22 Craig Ronaldson, 23 Danie Poolman
Unavailable/Injured: Denis Buckley, Craig Clarke, Eoin McKeon, Dave McSharry, Miah Nikora, James So’oialo, Kyle Tonetti, and Marcus Walsh

Starting XV: 15 Tom Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams
1 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Matthew Rees(c), 3 Scott Andrews, 4 Bradley Davies, 5 Filo Paulo, 6 Andries Pretorius, 7 Josh Navidi, 8 Robin Copeland
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Macauley Cook, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Gavin Evans

Venue: Cardiff Arm Park, Cardiff, Wales
Date: Friday, 13th September 2013
Kick-off: 19:05
TV Broadcasts: TG4 / BBC Wales, Rabo Matchday Live
Referee: Claudio Blessano (FIR, 4th competition game)

With very few changes to the side that played against Zebre last week, Pat Lam has shown confidence in his troops, with only Fionn Carr missing from the squad this week. Carr had a worthy outing last week, scoring an excellent try, so his ommission has caused a stir among the fans. Speculation suggests that perhaps he was rested given that Connacht now have a decent level of strength in depth in the back line.
Duffy has taken the vacated spot in the XXII.
Duffy comes back in at full-back which is open due to Robbie Henshaw moving into outside centre. Gavin played superbly on the wing last season when he came back from injury and a lot of supporters would have expected him to have started this season in the same position.
With Griffin being Connacht's only tried and tested outside centre, Lam seems to be searching for more depth in that position, trying first Poolman and now Henshaw in that position over the last couple of weeks. Henshaw was tried in that position briefly last week when Tiernan O'Halloran came on for Poolman in the Zebre match, and he seemed comfortable. With his speed it will be interesting to see this new combination at work.

Tiernan returns to his familiar old position at 14, and no doubt will be chomping at the bit to prove himself to the raft of challengers in that position. Healy retains his spot on the wing after his Jason Leonard-like try last week against Zebre. Marmion and Parks are duly returned to the pitch yet again to pull the strings.
The pack is a facsimilie of the pack from Saturday last. The bench was used fully by Lam against Zebe and Heenan impressed, as did a seemingly revitalised O'Donohoe. Hopefully this is a sign of a coach willing to build up experience by using the bench where he can.
John Muldoon, oft the hero for Connacht, a true green-blood reaches his 200th cap on Friday. The Connacht Clan wishes him well on behalf of all Connacht supporters, and will look forward to cheering him on for cap 201 at home.

In the Blues team, the eyes of Connacht fans will obviously be on Lions test star Alex Cuthbert, a very dangerous operator, with 110 points in 31 matches for the club. He is joined in the back three by 20 year old Harry Robinson and 22 year old Tom Williams. Tom's older brother Lloyd, another Welsh international, wins his 50th Blues cap at scrum half, and at outside-half Rhys Patchell joins him, having won his first Welsh cap against Japan this summer. It's a very different backline without Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts (to Racing) and Ceri Sweeney (Exeter), and it will be interesting for Connacht fans to see how it works together and whether the youngsters will crack under pressure.
The Blues pack however has plenty of steel and experience across all spots, starting with an all-international front row, including newly signed Matthew Rees (from Scarlets). In the second row Irish fans will recognise Bradley Davies and Filo Paulo, again both international players for Wales and Samoa respectively. In the back row South African born Pretorius will play his 50th Blues match, having picked up his first Welsh cap against Japan this summer, as did Navidi. Poor Robin Copeland is therefore the only non-international in the Blues pack! This will pose a serious challenge for Connacht and battles in the lineout, on the floor and in the scrum will be interesting and hard-fought.

The packs to decide the game yet again!
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