While Robbie Henshaw remains in Ireland camp, fit-again skipper Gavin Duffy, who earned his 150th Connacht cap last week, will start at full back tomorrow.
Fetu'u Vainikolo is named on the wing, replacing Tiernan O'Halloran who suffered a knee injury against Ospreys.
With centres Dave McSharry (groin) and Kyle Tonetti (shoulder) both unavailable, 27-year-old Brian Murphy will start at Inside Centre. Galway-born Murphy joined Connacht last summer from Ulster Bank All Ireland League club side Galwegians. He came through the Connacht age-grade system and has represented Ireland at Schools, Under-21 and A level.
Meanwhile, there is just one change up front with Andrew Browne replacing Mick Kearney in the second row.
Recent returnee from injury Denis Buckley is named on the bench as well as replacement back rower TJ Anderson.
15. Gavin Duffy (captain)
14. Danie Poolman
13. Eoin Griffin
12. Brian Murphy
11. Fetu'u Vainikolo
10. Dan Parks
9. Kieran Marmion
1. Brett Wilkinson
2. Jason Harris-Wright
3. Nathan White
4. Michael Swift
5. Andrew Browne
6. John Muldoon
7. Willie Faloon
8. Eoin McKeon
Replacements: Ethienne Reynecke, Denis Buckley, Ronan Loughney, Mick Kearney, TJ Anderson, Paul O'Donohoe, Miah Nikora, Matthew Jarvis
Unavailable: Robbie Henshaw, Dave McSharry, Mike McCarthy, Frank Murphy, George Naoupu, Dave Nolan, Johnny O'Connor, Tiernan O'Halloran, and Kyle Tonetti
Cardiff Blues v Connacht Rugby
Friday 22nd February
Kick off: 7:30pm
Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU, 32nd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell, Jason Langdon (both WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Gwyn Bowden (WRU)