Coach Andy Friend has made wholesale changes as Connacht aim to make the Lions a ninth consecutive win against South African opponents on Saturday in Johannesburg.
SA-born centre Shayne Bolton will hope for a chance to weave his magic off the bench as Tom Daly starts in midfield with Bundee Aki, while Alex Wootton forms an exciting back three alongside John Porch and Mack Hansen, against a Lions outfit unbeaten at home versus overseas sides in the URC.
Props Denis Buckley and Jack Aungier will pack down alongside Dave Heffernan, with a new-look second row of Oisín Dowling and Niall Murray, while Paul Boyle returns at No 8.
In the buildup to the clash at Ellis Park, Friend said: “We’ve had a really good week so far in South Africa and while the disappointment of last week still lingers, there’s still a great sense of optimism in the group that we can finish these last few games on a high.
“[Saturday’s] game brings additional challenges like the altitude, and the results so far have shown how difficult it is for European teams to get a win down here.
“The Lions have a strong scrum and pacey wingers so it’s up to us to not give them any footholds in the game, and take our chances when we get them.”
Connacht – 15 Mack Hansen, 14 John Porch, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Alex Wootton, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Paul Boyle, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Cian Prendergast, 5 Niall Murray, 4 Oisín Dowling, 3 Jack Aungier, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Denis Buckley.
Subs: 16 Dylan Tierney-Martin, 17 Jordan Duggan, 18 Greg McGrath, 19 Leva Fifita, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Conor Fitzgerald, 23 Shayne Bolton.