Two Academy players feature in the Connacht side to face the Scarlets in the RaboDirect Pro12 on Friday.

Dave Heffernan, a former Ireland U-20 has played in all of Connacht's 'A' games this season and joined the Connacht Academy having transferred his studies from UCD to NUIG. He will line-out as blindside flanker against the Welsh outfit.

Joining him in the forwards will be Mike Kearney, who has featured in nine of Connacht's matche. The versatile Irish Colleges second row has made three appearances in the Heineken Cup for the province.

There are a number of personnel changes to the starting team from last week with Brett Wilkinson and Mike McCarthy unavailable due to their involvement with the National side.

This gives Peter Borlase his first taste of Connacht Rugby at tighthead prop while Ronan Loughney, earning his 100th cap for the province, moves back to loosehead prop.

Eoin Griffin and Dave McSharry renew the centre partnership last seen in action in Connacht's Heineken Cup match against Gloucester while Miah Nikora replaces this injured Niall O'Connor at outhalf.

Connacht team to face the Scarlets in the RaboDirect Pro12 on Friday, 2 March at Par y Scarlets, kick-off 7.30pm:

15 Gavin Duffy (capt), 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo. 13 Eoin Griffin
12 Dave McSharry, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Miah Nikora, 9 Frank Murphy, 1 Ronan Loughney, 2 Adrian Flavin, 3 Peter Borlase, 4 Michael Swift, 5 Mick Kearney, 6 Dave Heffernan, 7 Ray Ofisa, 8 George Naoupu

Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Denis Buckley
18 Stewart Maguire, 19 John Muldoon, 20 Eoghan Grace, 21 Dave Moore, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Kyle Tonetti