Guinness Pro14: Connacht v Cardiff Blues
Venue: Sportsground, Galway Date: Sat, 1-3 April Kickoff: 15:00 BST
Coverage: Live score updates on BBC Radio Wales & Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website and app

Connacht head coach Andy Friend has made two changes to Saturday’s crucial Pro14 match to Cardiff Blues at home.

Centre Bundee Aki returns at heart for Peter Robb while flanker Eoin McKeon is replaced by Paul Boyle.

There are 3 changes for Blues, together with lock George Earle starting, hooker Ethan Lewis and wing Jason Harries.

A win for the state would guarantee a Pro14 spot, as the Welsh side understand they want a victory to maintain their play off hopes living.

Gareth Anscombe captains Cardiff for the Visit to Galway, together with Aled Summerhill, Kristian Dacey and Shane Lewis-Hughes dropping from the group that lost last weekend.

“That is a grand final for us of course, if we don’t get the result that we desire we’ll be seeking to a fourth-placed play off,” said Blues head coach John Mulvihill.

“The club hasn’t played in the last show therefore that’s our burning appetite.

“The boys also have approached this match and trained throughout the week as if it is just a final. It’s knockout competition now and we are excited about the struggle.

“Connacht really are a quality outfit, who have become a little form, and we’ve understood for a time it’d return to this match and Judgement Day. It is great for the contest and we are determined to stay in the struggle by winning in Connacht.”

The third-placed hosts, who would also ensure qualification are just four things ahead of Blues in fourth.

Connacht could possess Tom Farrell in midfield with Aki after he was pulled over Zebre.

“The stakes are extremely high but our destiny remains within our hands,” said Connacht head coach Andy Fried.

“we should ensure we have been fine and guide, that we restrain the football once we now have it, when we don’t, we don’t give them easy yardage.”

Both teams are going to have an eye fixed on Friday’s encounter in Port Elizabeth at which play off rivals Ospreys face Southern Kings.

Ospreys could put pressure on Connacht and rivals Blues should they win well against the South African team.

The Swansea-based team move at the penultimate round of this season in to Friday’s match three points supporting Blues and seven adrift of Connacht.

Should their target is achieved by Ospreys, Blues’ Saturday encounter at Connacht will take on greater significance.

Blues’ Seminar A campaign will end against Ospreys on the Saturday of Welsh rugby April’Judgment Day’ at Principality Stadium – a match which could decide the fate of each.

The playoffs for the Pro14 name involve the 3 teams in each conference, that be eligible for its 2019 20 Heineken Champions Cup.

The teams finishing fourth in Seminar A and Conference B will have yet another chance to be eligible for Europe’s top flight next season, using a playoff.

Connacht: O’Halloran; Leader, Farrell; Aki, Carty, Blade; Buckley, Heffernan, Robertson-McCoy; Dillane, Thornbury; Boyle, Fainga’a, Butler (capt.).

Assistant referees: George Clancy (IRFU), (SRU)

T-mo: Ken Henley-Willis (IRFU)

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