Elwood welcomes back O'Connor to face Quins

Updated: Friday, 11 Jan 2013 14:02

Johnny O'Connor returns to the Connacht team for Saturday's Heineken Cup clash against Harlequins at The Stoop.

O'Connor starts at openside, while Eoin McKeon, who this week signed a two year extended contract with the province, moves to No 8, replacing the injured George Naoupu.

There are two other changes to the side that beat the Dragons last weekend. In the back line, Tiernan O'Halloran starts on the right wing, while Fetu'u Vainikolo is named at No 11.

Matthew Jarvis replaces Dan Parks at out-half in what will be his third Heineken Cup game. The 22-year-old came off the bench in the back-to-back fixtures against French side Biarritz.

Miah Nikora, who returned to training last week following injury, is named on the bench along with replacement winger James Loxton.

Connacht team to face Harlequins:
(15-9) R Henshaw, T O'Halloran, E Griffin, D McSharry, F Vainikolo, M Jarvis, Marmion,

(1-8) D Buckley, J Harris-Wright, N White (capt), M Swift, M McCarthy, A Browne, J O'Connor, E McKeon

Replacements: E Reynecke, B Wilkinson, R Loughney, M Kearney, E Grace, P O'Donohoe, M Nikora, J Loxton

Ahead of the clash, coach Eric Elwood said: "This weekend is a massive opportunity for us. We're going to play a hugely strong team who are English champions and top of the league at the moment.

"They've blitzed everybody in our pool so far. But the good news for us is that we're going there with confidence after the win against Dragons last week.

"We had a great game against Quins here in October where we both tried to play ball and we're going to have the same mind-set this week.

"It's Heineken Cup rugby and we want to show people what we can do. It's going to be difficult but we know the challenge facing us and we want to play our game."

There will be full live coverage of Leinster v Scarlets on Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1 on Saturday 12 December from 2pm.

There will be full live coverage of Ulster v Glasgow on a specially extended Sport at Seven on RTÉ Radio 1 on Friday 11 January from 7pm.