Preview: Aironi v Treviso

Date published: December 22 2011

Aironi have made fives changes to their side for Friday's Italian derby at home to Treviso in the Pro12.

Aironi have made fives changes to their side for Friday's Italian derby at home to Teviso in the Pro12.

The back-line that scored three times against Ulster last week is retained with Andrea Masi making his first start of the season at full-back.

An Italian duo will make up the half-backs, with Luciano Orquera alongside Tito Tebaldi.

There is a new pair of props, with Fabio Staibano at tighthead and Alberto De Marchi at the loosehead position, while Fabio Ongaro hooking.

Italian International Mauro Bergamasco, will make his debut for Aironi coming from the replacements against his former team.

There's a long list of injured player that Aironi couldn't consider for this game. George Biagi suffered a knee injury last week and could be out for a couple of months, while Tyson Keats will miss the derby due to a knock to the head.

With long-term injured Nick Williams, Kaine Robertson and Paolo Buso recovering from surgeries, Aironi can't rely on Joshua Furno, who could be available for next week clash in Treviso, and Frans Viljoen.

Meanwhile, Benetton Treviso's head coach Franco Smith has rung the changes to his starting XV.

In the back-line, only one player – inside centre Andrea Pratichetti – retains his original place from the side that lost to Biarritz in the Heineken Cup last week.

However, there's also two positional changes with Ludovico Nitoglia moving from right wing to full-back and Tommaso Benvenuti taking over his position after doing duty on the left wing against Biarritz.

Pratichetti will be joined in the midfield by Ezio Galon for the first time this season.

Two other significant changes sees Willem De Waal and Fabio Semenzato replacing Kristopher Burton and Tobias Botes at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.

After a game off in the Heineken Cup, Brendan Williams is back on the left wing.

Lock pairing Corniel Van Zyl and captain Antonio Pavanello are the only two players unchanged in the pack.

Marco Filippucci, Benjamin Vermaak and Manoa Vosawa are the preferred in loose trio while in the front row Matteo Muccignat and Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet are playing as props, with Diego Vidal at hooker.

Form: Aironi Rugby are still trying to double their tally of wins this season, having beaten Edinburgh at Stadio Zaffanella on 24 September in the RaboDirect PRO12. Benetton Treviso have won two of their last three games in all competitions, and also won three of their last five away matches. Treviso took both encounters with Aironi last season, with Aironi picking up a losing bonus point on each occasion.

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The teams:

Aironi: 15 Andrea Masi; 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti; 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tito Tebaldi; 8 Josh Sole, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Nicola Cattina; 5 Marco Bortolami (c), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys; 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Alberto De Marchi
Replacements: 16 Roberto Santamaria, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Filippo Ferrarini, 20 Mauro Bergamasco, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Naas Olivier, 23 Alberto Benettin. Coach: Rowland Phillips.

Treviso: 15 Ludovico Nitoglia, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Ezio Galon, 12 Andrea Pratichetti, 11 Brendan Williams, 10 Willem De Waal, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Marco Filippucci, 7 Benjamin Vermaak, 6 Manoa Vosawai, 5 Corniel Van Zyl, 4 Antonio Pavanello (c), 3 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, 2 Diego Vidal, 1 Matteo Muccignat.
Replacements: 16 Enrico Ceccato, 17 Lorenzo Cittadini, 18 Michele Rizzo, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Gonzalo Padrò, 21 Simon Picone, 22 Edoardo Gori, 23 Alberto Di Bernardo.

Date: Friday 23 December
Venue: Stadio Zaffanella
Kick-off: 19.00 (18.00 GMT)
Referee: Carlo Damasco (FIR)