Duffy returns to lead Connacht against Cardiff

After coming through 65 minutes in last weekend’s victory over Ospreys unscathed Connacht skipper Gavin Duffy will lead the province from the start in tomorrow night’s RaboDirect PRO12 showdown against Cardiff Blues at Arms Park.

Duffy’s selection at fullback, where the in-form Robbie Henshaw started last weekend, represents one of four changes head coach Eric Elwood has made to his starting team.

Henshaw’s inclusion in Declan Kidney’s Ireland camp ensured his absence while Fetu'u Vainikolo comes onto the wing in place of Tiernan O'Halloran who suffered a knee injury against Ospreys.

With centres Dave McSharry (groin) and Kyle Tonetti (shoulder) both unavailable, 27-year-old Brian Murphy will start at inside centre.

Galway-born Murphy joined Connacht last summer from Ulster Bank All-Ireland League club side Galwegians.

He came through the Connacht age-grade system and has represented Ireland at Schools, Under-21 and A level.

Meanwhile, there is just one change up front with Andrew Browne replacing Mick Kearney in the second row.

Recent returnee from injury Denis Buckley is named on the bench as well as replacement back rower TJ Anderson.

Connacht (v. Cardiff): G Duffy (capt); D Poolman, E Griffin, B Murphy, F Vainikolo; D Parks, K Marmion; B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, N White; M Swift, A Browne, J Muldoon, W Faloon, E McKeon.

Replacements: E Reynecke, D Buckley, R Loughney, M Kearney, TJ Anderson, P O'Donohoe, M Nikora, M Jarvis.

Unavailable: Robbie Henshaw, Dave McSharry, Mike McCarthy, Frank Murphy, George Naoupu, Dave Nolan, Johnny O'Connor, Tiernan O'Halloran, and Kyle Tonetti.

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