Bundee Aki, Ultan Dillane and Dave Heffernan have been named in the Connacht side for Saturday's Guinness Pro14 fixture against Cardiff Blues at the Sportsground.

The Ireland trio had been among total of 12 international players returning to their respective provincial bubbles to avail of domestic game time.

Aki will start at inside centre alongside Tom Daly, while Gavin Thornbury will partner Dillane in the second row.

Heffernan will be flanked in the front row by Jordan Duggan and Finlay Bealham.

Jarrad Butler returns to captain the side in a back row combination with Eoghan Masterson and Paul Boyle.

Jack Carty starts at 10, with Caolin Blade at scrum-half. Alex Wootton and Matt Healy are on the wings and John Porch, who has started every game this season to date, taking his place at full-back.

"It's great to welcome Dave, Ultan and Bundee back into the fold, and they’re re-joining an already healthy group of players. We had tough news for Quinn Roux and Peter Robb this week but overall we’re in a good spot and that’s allowed us to pick a squad based on form," said Connacht head coach Andy Friend.

His side are six points clear of Cardiff with a game in hand in Conference B of the Pro14.

Connacht: John Porch, Alex Wootton, Tom Daly, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Jordan Duggan, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Gavin Thornbury, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler, Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Denis Buckley, Jack Aungier, Oisin Dowling, Abraham Papali'i, Kieran Marmion, Sean O’Brien, Tiernan O’Halloran.