Connacht Rugby head coach Pat Lam has named a strong team to take on Northampton Saints in their high-stake European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final play-off clash on Saturday.

Ireland internationals Niyi Adeolokun, Ultan Dillane and Matt Healy all return from injury to make Lam's match-day squad.

Adeolokun starts on the wing with Danie Poolman shifting into the centre where he joins Craig Ronaldson.

Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham – who have been named in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad for the summer tour to the USA – start in the front row.

Sean O’Brien and Jack Heenan slot into the back-row alongside captain and No 8 John Muldoon for the reigning Pro12 champions.

Lam – set to coach Bristol Rugby from next season – is optimistic for the clash against the Saints at Franklin's Gardens.

He said: “Everything over the past few weeks has been geared towards this game.

“We know we have not been anywhere near our best in the last few matches and that has been a big disappointment for us as a team.

“We’ve had a very positive week on and off the training pitch, but we all know that the 80 plus minutes from 4pm on Saturday is when it needs to count.”

Saints – European champions in 2000 – have also picked a star-studded team including two British & Irish Lions.

George North starts on the wing with Courtney Lawes in the second row, partnering the returning Christian Day.

The big names do not end there. England captain Dylan Hartley leads the side at hooker alongside props Alex Waller and Kieran Brookes.

France international Louis Picamoles gets the nod at No 8 with Jamie Gibson and Teimana Harrison for company at the back of the pack.

Nic Groom and Harry Mallinder form the half-back pairing with Luther Burrell and Nafi Tuitavake in the centres.

Connacht enjoyed a positive Champions Cup campaign in 2016/17. Despite missing out on play-off qualification to Wasps and Toulouse, the Irish outfit managed to win an impressive four games.

The Saints, meanwhile, will have a point to prove after a disappointing run in Pool 4 of the Champions Cup where they were the basement boys after finding just two victories.

The winner at Franklin's Gardens will take on either 2017 Challenge Cup winners Stade Francais or Cardiff Blues with a place in next season's Champions Cup on the line.

Northampton Saints v Connacht Rugby

Saturday, 20 May
Kick-off: 16:00, Franklin's Gardens

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France), Assistant ref: Pascal Gauzere (France), Assistant ref: Ludovic Cayre (France), TMO: Eric Gauzins (France), Citing Commissioner: Richard McGhee (Scotland)

Northampton Saints: Ahsee Tuala; Ben Foden, Nafi Tuitavake, Luther Burrell, George North; Harry Mallinder, Nic Groom; Alex Waller, Dylan Hartley (c), Kieran Brookes, Courtney Lawes, Christian Day, Jamie Gibson, Teimana Harrison, Louis Picamoles
Replacements: Mikey Haywood, Campese Ma'afu, Gareth Denman, Api Ratuniyarawa, Tom Wood, Lee Dickson, Sam Olver, Rory Hutchinson

Connacht Rugby: Tiernan O'Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Danie Poolman, Craig Ronaldson, Cian Kelleher; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, David Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Andrew Browne, Sean O'Brien, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (c)
Replacements: Shane Delahunt, JP Cooney, Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, Naulia Dawai, Caolin Blade, John Cooney, Matt Healy