Andy Friend believes Connacht are going up against "arguably the world's best team" when they travel to the RDS on Saturday night, but he's backing his men to put it up to Leinster and end a 16-year wait for victory in Dublin.

The Westerners head into the festive Pro14 derby on the back of five consecutive wins, most recently at Perpignan in the Challenge Cup.

That impressive victory in France was further evidence of Connacht's improvement under Friend, and the New Zealander says they'll go to the capital with no fear. 

"I was really pleased [with the performance against Perpignan] - we fought through a couple of hairy bits," he told RTÉ Sport's Darren Frehill.

"We just kept our nerve, and real credit to the players. We're building depth in the squad and they came away with the win. 

"Every game offers its challenges as well as its opportunities. We know we're away to Europe's best team, arguably the world's best team, but it's another opportunity. What a great opportunity it is to go up there and have a real crack at them. 

"We'll select a team we believe can go up there and do the job. It's how we front up on the day. They're a tough opposition. We know we're going to be challenged there."

Bundee Aki got married last week in New Zealand and only returned to Ireland on Monday. The centre went straight to Joe Schmidt's Ireland camp before returning to his province. He's in the frame to start at the RDS.

"One thing you know you're going to get with Bundee is energy," Friend added.

"It's brilliant to have him back and to have him around the squad because whether he's starting or not starting, he just gives a good vibe. Everyone gets good energy off him. 

"Leinster have got a real clear understanding of the way they want to play. They've got quality throughout their squad, world-class players. In the big moments they get it right.

"But if we play the way we want to play we'll definitely ask some questions of them."