The Limerick native has chalked up 44 Magners League caps in his three seasons with Connacht and appeared in all of Ireland's Six Nations matches this year, bringing his total number of Test caps to 12.
Mike McCarthy continues his successful partnership with Michael Swift in the second row. McCarthy recently signed a new two-year deal with the province.
The 29-year-old's superb form this season saw him called into the extended Ireland Six Nations squad, and he also earned his first cap for the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds against England Saxons.
Miah Nikora's knee injury has ruled him out of contention this weekend and his place on the bench goes to young winger Shane Monahan.
The match is not being televised, but supporters can avail of live text commentary here.
CONNACHT (v Aironi Rugby): Gavin Duffy; Brian Tuohy, Niva Ta'auso, Troy Nathan, Fionn Carr; Ian Keatley, Frank Murphy; Brett Wilkinson, Sean Cronin, Jamie Hagan, Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy, Andrew Browne, Johnny O'Connor (capt), Ray Ofisa.
Replacements: Adrian Flavin, Ronan Loughney, Rodney Ah You, Bernie Upton, John Muldoon, Cillian Willis, Keith Matthews, Shane Monahan.