Connacht have been boosted for this week's trip to South Africa, with Andy Friend confirming that their frontline Ireland internationals will be available to play on the two-game tour.

The squad went from Belfast to Dublin yesterday, following Saturday's 36-10 thumping against Ulster, and will fly out to Cape Town this afternoon after a training session at the IRFU's high performance centre in Abbotstown.

The province take on the Stormers at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Saturday, before moving into the Highveld the following week for a game against the Bulls in Pretoria.

And while they will be without Caolin Blade and Cian Prendergast among others due to their commitments with Emerging Ireland's upcoming tour, they will be able to call on the likes of Bundee Aki, Mack Hansen and Finlay Bealham, as well as back row Jarrad Butler, who missed the opening game of the season due to injury.

"We have a few coming in for the South African trip," the Connacht director of rugby said following their defeat in Belfast on Saturday night.

"We have got our Ireland players back and some of the boys we didn't have tonight, Jarrad Butler should be available, and we will see what damage injury wise we have coming out from tonight."

Connacht's travelling squad will be confirmed later today, with uncertainty over whether captain Jack Carty will make the trip. The out-half is nearing a return to action following surgery on a long-term wrist issue over the summer, and when asked on Saturday if the 30-year-old would be included, Friend said it was still "to be decided".

The Irish side were one of just two northern hemisphere teams to claim a win in South Africa last season when they saw off the Lions in Johannesburg in April, and in spite of their poor showing in Belfast there is quiet confidence they could pick off at least one win over the two games.

While their opponents, Stormers and Bulls, were last year's finalists, both sides will be missing key players due to South Africa's Rugby Championship commitments, and the province are hopeful the Round 1 defeat on Saturday will sharpen their minds.

"The next performance is everything now for us," Friend added.

"We knew anyway we were up against tough teams, Ulster away, Stormers away, Bulls away, but at the same time we saw that as a real challenge for us. We still see it as a challenge.

"We are not going to run away from that; we knew exactly what we are getting ourselves in for, that was not a performance we were proud of tonight. It is up to us to change that and we go to Cape Town now to try and do that."