Connacht have made just one change to the team originally due to play Ospreys in the Guinness Pro14 last week, with Caolin Blade coming into the starting XV for Friday's home game (KO 7.35pm) against Benetton.
A Covid-19 case within the Ospreys camp caused the fixture to be postponed, and Blade is the only alteration to the team, with the scrum-half recovered from a recent hamstring injury to start his first game since late October.
Colm Reilly is named among the replacements for teh rearranged fixture.
Paul Boyle is named as captain at number 8 with flankers Sean O’Brien and Conor Oliver alongside him in the back row.
Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt and Jack Aungier make up the front row, while locks Eoghan Masterson and Gavin Thornbury complete the pack.
Conor Fitzgerald partners Blade at out-half, with Tom Daly and Sammy Arnold named at centre and Alex Wootton, Peter Sullivan and John Porch completing the side as the back three.
"Last week’s late postponement was very disappointing and put us in a tricky position regarding our selection for this week," Friend said.
"We’ve got seven weeks of European games and interpros ahead of us, so we’d like to get minutes under the belts of as many players as possible.
"It’s important we build on the Zebre win two weeks ago by showing that same level of physicality and taking our changes when they come. If we do that, I know that’ll put us in a good place."
A win for Connacht will lift them to second place in Conference B behind Munster.
Connacht: John Porch, Peter Sullivan, Sammy Arnold, Tom Daly,Alex Wootton, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Jack Aungier, Eoghan Masterson, Gavin Thornbury, Sean O'Brien, Conor Oliver, Paul Boyle (c)
Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Paddy McAllister, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Jarrad Butler, Colm Reilly, Sean O'Brien, Matt Healy.
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