Preview: Connacht v Treviso

Date published: February 27 2015

Treviso arrive in Galway fresh off their best performance in a long while as they put the Cardiff Blues to the sword last weekend.

It's been a tough couple of seasons for the Italian side, who have seen their progress stall entirely with the club's uncertain future last season leading to wholesale changes this season.

With a number of experienced internationals having moved abroad, Treviso have gone back to being whipping boys in the Pro12, just two years after finishing seventh.

However last week they ran in 40 points against the Blues, and while the Welsh region have serious problems of their own, it was still an impressive display with a number of players absent.

If they can follow that up with a win in Ireland that would be an even more noteworthy result – it's been more than three years since they last won in Ireland.

Connacht certainly won't be lacking in motivation, and a recent slump in form leaves them needing a win to remain on course for a Champions Cup spot next year.

Currently sixth, they are just about holding off the Scarlets as it stands, but can't afford a third straight home defeat in all competitions.

As a result Pat Lam has made two changes, with Galway-born Tiernan O’Halloran, who celebrated his 24th birthday yesterday, earning his first start of the season, lining up at full-back. 

Niyi Adeolokun is named on the right wing to allow top try scorer Danie Poolman to move into outside centre while Craig Ronaldson shifts to fly-half.

Treviso have made changes of their own because of injury and international call-ups, Andrea Pratichetti moves to outside centre, while the two wingers will be Ludovico Nitoglia and the Fijian Henry Seniloli.

Up front, there are changes in the back row with Nicola Cattina starting and the locks will be Tomas Vallejos and Meyer Swanepoel.

Form: Connacht have remained at sixth place in the Guinness PRO12 table since Round Seven, despite having a record of won 4 lost 5 in the subsequent rounds. The Irishmen have lost their last two games at the Sportsground, to Edinburgh and to Exeter Chiefs. Treviso have won three of their last five Guinness PRO12 fixtures but have not won outside of Italy since a trip to Scarlets in May 2013, whilst you have to go back to December 2011 to discover their most recent victory at n Irish Province. Connacht have lost just one of their last five contests with Treviso: 3-23 at Stadio Monigo in October 2013 whereas the Italian’s only previous win in Galway was 15-13 on 2 December 2011.

The teams:

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Craig Ronaldson, 9 John Cooney, 8 Eoghan Masterson, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 John Muldoon (c), 5 Aly Muldowney, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Nathan White, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Conor Finn

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Henry Seniloli, 13 Andrea Pratichetti, 12 Sam Christie, 11 Ludovico Nitoglia, 10 James Ambrosini, 9 Alberto Lucchese, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Dean Budd, 6 Nicola Cattina, 5 Meyer Swanepoel, 4 Tomas Vallejos, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Davide Giazzon (c), 1 Matteo Zanusso
Replacements: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Romulo Acosta, 18 Salesi Manu, 19 Corniel Van Zyl, 20 Paul Derbyshire, 21 Alberto Saccardo, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Francesco Menon

Date: Sunday, March 1
Venue: Sportsground, Galway
Kick-off: 19:15 GMT
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Mark Connolly (Ireland), Ken Imbusch (Ireland)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (Ireland)