McCarthy returns for Connacht

Ireland second-row Mike McCarthy makes his return to the Connacht starting XV for the province’s Heineken Cup Pool 3 meeting with Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque at the Sportsground on Friday (8pm).

McCarthy represents one of two changes to the starting XV following last week's one point league defeat to Edinburgh Rugby.

The other swap sees Andrew Browne move to blindside flanker. He is joined in the back row by Willie Faloon and Eoin McKeon, who, tomorrow, earns his 20th Connacht cap.

McCarthy partners Mick Kearney in the engine room as Michael Swift is unavailable through injury.

Fetu'u Vainkolo replaces an injured Gavin Duffy on the left wing. There are no further changes to the back line with Dan Parks captaining the side in tomorrow's eagerly anticipated Heineken Cup game.

Hooker Ethienne Reynecke returns to the squad from injury last week and is named among the replacements. He joins Denis Buckley and JP Conney as the front row replacements.

As well as skipper Duffy and experienced lock Swift, Eric Elwood must cope without injury victims Rodney Ah You, Mata Fifita, Eoin Griffin, Shane Layden, Darragh Leader, John Muldoon, Frank Murphy, George Naoupu, Dave Nolan, Kyle Tonetti and Nathan White.

Connacht (v. Biarritz): R Henshaw; T O’Halloran, D Poolman, D McSharry, F Vainikolo; D Parks (capt), K Marmion; B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, R Loughney; M Kearney, M McCarthy; A Browne, W Faloon, E McKeon.

Replacements: E Reynecke, D Buckley, JP Cooney, D Qualter, J O’Connor, P O’Donohoe, M Nikora, M Jarvis.

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