Preview: Aironi v Edinburgh

Date published: September 23 2011

Edinburgh have made two personnel changes to their side for Saturday's RaboDirect PRO12 match against Aironi in Italy.

Edinburgh have made two personnel changes to the side that beat Connacht at Murrayfield last weekend for Saturday's RaboDirect PRO12 match against Aironi at the Stadio Zaffanella.

The Connacht match was the club's first win of the 2011/12 season and they now travel to Viadana for their third match against the Italians since their inauguration into the competition last year, the most recent encounter on away terms requiring a late Allan Jacobsen try to secure the narrowest of victories (10-9).

“We travel to Italy seeking to build on the momentum earned from a hard-fought win over Connacht last weekend, and do so with the confidence gained from getting our league campaign off to a start,” said Head coach Michael Bradley.

“Training has gone well this week and we're looking forward to a match in weather conditions that suit the way Edinburgh Rugby like to play the game.

“As is often the case with Italian teams, Aironi are a very proud and physical side, capable of raising their game for their home support, as you can see by their recent performance against a strong Ulster side.

“Our performances have improved week on week and we need to continue that progression at the Stadio Zaffanella if we are to record back-to-back wins in the RaboDirect PRO12.”

Fly-half Gregor Hunter and number eight Stuart McInally are Bradley's two starting changes.

Hunter's reintroduction means that Chris Leck starts on the bench with captain Greig Laidlaw returning to his favoured scrum-half position.

McInally's return to the fold brings about a shuffle of the back five, with David Denton moving to the blind-side flank and Sean Cox moving to pack down with Steven Turnbull in the second-row.

On the bench Harry Leonard (fly-half/centre) prepares to make his club debut having performed admirably for Boroughmuir, while Alun Walker (hooker) and Hamish Watson (back-row) are also reintroduced to the squad.

Meanwhile, centre Roberto Quartaroli returns in the starting line-up for Aironi after a week off in the only change for the Italian side. He replaces injured Gilberto Pavan.

Lock George Biagi, who lived and studied in Edinburgh for a long time before returning to Italy to play rugby. After three games, Biagi is the only player together with Naas Olivier to have played all the 240 minutes for the Aironi side, using this period without the Internationals to carve an important role for himself leading the Aironi line-out.

“With the guys at the World Cup, it was my time and everything is going well. I have this opportunity and I must continue to make the most of it until the end,” he said.
Form: Aironi have lost their last seven matches since their 25-13 victory over Connacht at Stadio Zaffanella on 26 March. Edinburgh gained a first victory of the RaboDirect PRO12 season at home to Connacht on Friday. The Scotsmen lost on their most recent visit to Italy: 6-31 at Benetton Treviso on 6 May. Edinburgh took both previous encounters with Aironi last season.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Aironi: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Nicola Cattina, 6 Frans Viljoen; 5 George Biagi, 4 Joshua Furno; 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Roberto Santamaria (cap), 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Josh Sole, 20 Simone Favaro, 21 Tyson Keats, 22 Alberto Benettin, 23 Riccardo Pavan. All. Rowland Philllips.

Edinburgh: 15 Tom Brown, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Jim Thompson, 12 James King, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Gregor Hunter, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Stuart McInally, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 David Denton, 5 Steven Turnbull, 4 Sean Cox, 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Steven Lawrie, 1 Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Lewis Niven, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Harry Leonard, 23 Matt Scott.

Date: Saturday 24 September
Venue: Stadio Zaffanella
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT/ 14.00 BST)
Referee: Referee: Peter Allan (SRU)