NATHAN WHITE WILL make his first start in the green of Connacht when table-toppers Scarlets visit the Sportsground on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).
White’s inclusion at tighthead prop is one of six changes as coach Eric Elwood looks to build on a three-try win away to RaboDirect Pro12 new boys Zebre last weekend.
Brett Wilkinson starts at loosehead while injuries to John Muldoon (ankle) and George Naoupu (calf) force wholesale changes to the Connacht back row. Andrew Browne starts at blindside flanker, his first appearance since picking up a preseason injury more than a year ago.
Willie Faloon and Eoin McKeon line out alongside Browne with Johnny O’Connor the casualty of the reshuffle, dropping to the bench.
Elwood makes just one change in the backs. Dave McSharry makes his first start of the season, replacing Mata Fifita alongside Eoin Griffin in the centre.
“The lads showed huge character in Italy, especially when we were forced into making so many changes in the second half,” Elwood said.
“Tomorrow poses another challenge as Scarlets are top of the league and are playing very well. They’ve had a great start to the season, scoring 10 tries in the process. We will really have to step it up against this Scarlets side but the lads are well up for the challenge.”
Connacht: Gavin Duffy (c); Tiernan O’Halloran, Eoin Griffin, Dave McSharry, Fetu’u Vainikolo; Miah Nikora, Kieran Marmion; Brett Wilkinson, Ethienne Reynecke, Nathan White; Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy; Andrew Browne, Willie Faloon, Eoin McKeon. Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Dennis Buckley, Rodney Ah You, David Gannon, Johnny O’Connor, Dave Moore, Matthew Jarvis, Robbie Henshaw.
Scarlets: Jordan Williams; George North, Jonathan Davies (c), Scott Williams, Nick Reynolds; Rhys Priestland, Gareth Davies; Phil John, Matthew Rees, Samson Lee; Sione Timani, Richard Kelly; Josh Turnbull, Johnathan Edwards, Kieran Murphy. Replacements: Ken Owens, Peter Edwards, Deacon Manu, Jake Ball, Rob McCusker, Aled Davies, Aled Thomas, Gareth Maule.