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Friday 24 November 2017

Elwood expects response in Toulouse

IF Connacht are to finally register their first Heineken Cup win, they will have to do it the hard way when they take on European rugby aristocrats Toulouse in their own backyard.

Having lost 13 on the bounce, a furious Eric Elwood branded last week's defeat by Aironi as "unacceptable" and a backlash is expected at the Stade Ernest Wallon (kick-off 3.40) this afternoon.

Elwood has made three changes to his team, Paul O'Donohoe (pictured) comes into the side at scrum-half, Ray Ofisa at flanker and Niall O'Connor starts at out-half.

Dylan Rogers, Adrian Flavin and Brett Wilkinson renew their partnership up front, with Michael Swift and Mike McCarthy in the engine room of the scrum.

John Muldoon returns to blindside flanker, with Samoan Ray Ofisa at openside and George Naoupu at No8.

Former Springbok prop Gurthro Steenkamp makes his return to the Toulouse starting XV for the clash in the south of France.

The French champions have also recalled former All Black Luke McAlister to the number 10 slot with in-form Lionel Beauxis on the bench.

Yann David and Florian Fritz form the centre partnership as Yannick Jauzion has been rested.

Connacht: G Duffy, F Vainikolo, K Tonetti, D McSharry, T O'Halloran, N O'Connor, P O'Donohoe, B Wilkinson, A Flavin, D Rogers, M Swift, M McCarthy, J Muldoon, R Ofisa, G Naoupu.

Toulouse: M Medard, V Clerc, Y David , F Fritz, T Matanavou, L McAlister, L Burgess, L Picamoles , T Dusautoir, J Bouilhou, P Albacete, Y Maestri, C Johnston, W Servat, G Steenkamp.

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