Fit-again Smith is one of three changes made to the starting line-up that faced Leinster by Head Coach Danny Wilson as Cardiff Blues look to return to winning ways in league action.
Lock Lou Reed will also start his first game of the campaign as he joins forces with Jarrad Hoeata in the second row.
The final change comes in the back row where Ellis Jenkins is handed the No.7 openside flanker jersey. Captain Josh Navidi moves to blindside and Josh Turnbull operates at Number Eight.
Hooker Matthew Rees could make his first appearance of the season from the bench and he is joined among the replacements by highly-rated Wales Under-20 prop Dillon Lewis.
The fixture is the second part of four successive games in Ireland for Cardiff Blues and Wilson insists his players are eager for a return to playing action after a two-week period without action.
He said: “We go to a very tough venue and very tough opposition in Connacht to try and get a win. The boys are motivated and excited about the trip.
“Connacht are a good side who are well coached by Pat Lam and well organised; at home they are a very hard side to beat.
“They are a passionate side at home and are proud of their home venue - it’s a difficult away fixture for us in the middle of four difficult away fixtures in Ireland.
“It’s not a game we take lightly at all and we’ve prepared well and we’re looking forward to getting out there. It will be a real achievement if we can come away with a win..”
Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Richard Smith, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Tavis Knoyle; 1 Sam Hobbs, 2 Kristian Dacey, 3 Craig Mitchell, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Lou Reed, 6 Josh Navidi (c), 7 Ellis Jenkins, 8 Josh Turnbull
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 James Down, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Garyn Smith