Robbie Henshaw returns from Ireland camp to start at full-back in a speedy back-three with Tiernan O'Halloran and Connacht's record try scorer, Fionn Carr.
The league's highest points scorer, Dan Parks, starts at out-half in an otherwise all-Irish qualified squad this weekend.
On the bench, prop Ronan Loughney returns from injury while Darragh Leader is brought in as one of the replacement backs.
Commenting on the round 17 game, head coach Pat Lam said: "It's been a while since our last outing but we're in good shape after training hard during the break.
"Coming off the back of three straight wins gives us confidence, but we're very much aware that we haven't won four in-a-row in quite some time.
"We also have to look at the threat of the Dragons who are a strong outfit at Rodney Parade. They've only been narrowly beaten by Leinster and Munster at home.
"If you look at all the games they play there, their line speed is faster, their contact is faster. The crowd are also a very passionate bunch which is another challenge for visitors.
"But we know what we need to do. We've targeted this next block of games and everything is about the process we go through as a team to earn the wins and valuable points to move up the table."
CONNACHT (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Robbie Henshaw; Tiernan O'Halloran, Eoin Griffin, David McSharry, Fionn Carr; Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Jason Harris-Wright, Rodney Ah You, Aly Muldowney, Michael Kearney, John Muldoon (capt), Eoghan Masterson, Eoin McKeon.
Replacements: David Heffernan, Ronan Loughney, Nathan White, Michael Swift, Andrew Browne, Frank Murphy, Miah Nikora, Darragh Leader.