10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Aidan Wynne comes into the side at inside centre for the injured Mel Deane (hamstring) as Connacht and London Irish battle it out for top spot in Pool 1.
Connacht's superb 30-12 away win to Dax in the south of France last week has given Michael Bradley's men a great chance of advancing from the pool.
The first ever competitive fixture between the sides on Friday is poised to go a long way towards deciding the pecking order in this pool. A number of hospitality packages are still available for this historic encounter.
Previewing the game, Bradley said: "It is certainly going to be a big ask for us but, ever since the fixtures were announced, we have been looking forward to what really is a glamour match for us.
"London Irish have a super squad and are a great side - we will be up against the same team who took them all the way to last season's Heineken Cup semi-finals so we are well aware of the challenge they will present.
"They are a pretty formidable club with plenty of pace out wide and power up front and it is going to be a tough gig for us but also one we relish.
"They have already put 28 points on Sale Sharks, won at Harlequins - which is no mean feat - and beaten London Wasps so I am sure they are a team really going places in the Premiership.
"However, we are playing very well in our home matches and after a tight game against the Ospreys we have beaten Glasgow Warriors and Leinster in Galway so we cannot wait to play London Irish in front of a full house on Friday night.
"Our fans have been really looking forward to coming to watch the game and the players to competing against one of the best teams around."
Supporters are reminded that Friday's clash is all-ticket. Tickets are available on the Ticketmaster website or in person at the Connacht Rugby offices at the Sportsground on College Road during office hours from 9am to 5pm.
CONNACHT (v London Irish): Fionn Carr; Liam Bibo, Gavin Duffy, Aidan Wynne, John Hearty; Ian Keatley, Frank Murphy; Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Robbie Morris, Michael Swift, Andrew Farley, Ray Ofisa, Johnny O'Connor, John Muldoon (capt).
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Ronan Loughney, Andrew Browne, Colm Rigney, Kieran Campbell, Andy Dunne, Daniel Riordan.