Preview: Munster v Treviso

Date published: November 25 2016

Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has rung the changes for their PRO12 encounter with Treviso at Thomond Park.

Tommy O’Donnell continues as captain with seven changes made to the side that defeated the Maori All Blacks.

Among the returning international contingent for the round nine clash are Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Jack O’Donoghue, and Billy Holland.

Dave Foley and Sammy Arnold have overcome their respective elbow and knee injuries to take their places in the starting line-up with the latter to make his competitive debut.

Named amongst the replacements, prop Thomas du Toit and scrum-half Angus Lloyd are included in their first match-day squads with Jean Kleyn also included after successfully rehabbing an ankle injury.

An all-new front row sees Kilcoyne and Ryan start on either side of hooker Rhys Marshall who makes his first start in the red jersey.

In the second row Foley returns to partner Darren O’Shea in the PRO12 for the first time, while in the back row, O’Donnell reverts to openside, O’Donoghue comes in at blindside with Robin Copeland continuing at number eight. O’Donnell draws ever closer to a century of appearances in the Championship and will make his 99th PRO12 appearance this weekend.

Duncan Williams and Tyler Bleyendaal resume their partnership in the half backs with another new pairing seen in midfield where debutant Arnold starts alongside Jaco Taute.

There are no further changes with Ronan O’Mahony, Darren Sweetnam and full-back Andrew Conway again forming the back three.

Meanwhile, Treviso have made a few changes since they lost to Cardiff Blues 34-28 before the international break.

Tommaso Iannone comes in at outside centre in place of Tommaso Benvenuti who is representing Italy against Tonga this weekend with Luca Sperandio starting in the 11 jersey.

In the forward pack Filippo Ferrarini will start at openside in the absence of Abraham Steyn with Michael Van Vuuren replacing Dean Budd in the five jersey.

The front-row gets a complete overhaul with the trio of Matteo Zanusso, Luca Bigi and Alberto De Marchi replacing Simone Ferrari, Ornel Gega and Nicola Quaglio.

Form: Munster’s solitary defeat in any competition since September was 14-25 to Leinster at Aviva Stadium in Round 6 of the PRO12. The Munstermen are undefeated in any tournament at Thomond Park since Leinster were the visitors in the PRO12 at Christmas 2015. Treviso have won just one game in any competition this season – 27-11 at home to the Dragons in Round 4 of the PRO12. The Italians have not won outside Italy since a trip to Scarlets in May 2013, whilst their most recent victory at an Irish province was on a trip to Galway in December 2011. Munster have won their last seven fixtures against Treviso in all competitions since the Italians’ 29-19 success at Stadio Monigo in the PRO12 three years ago. Treviso have never won in nine previous visits to Munster in all competitions.

The teams:

Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Ronan O’Mahony, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Tommy O’Donnell(c), 6 Jack O’Donoghue, 5 Darren O’Shea, 4 Dave Foley, 3 John Ryan, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Billy Holland, 21 Angus Lloyd, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Alex Wootton

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Alberto Sgarbi(c), 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Ian McKinley, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Marco Barbini, 7 Filippo Ferrarini, 6 Marco Lazzaroni, 5 Michael Van Vuuren, 4 Filippo Gerosa, 3 Matteo Zanusso, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Alberto De Marchi
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Roberto Santamaria, 20 Federico Conforti, 21 Enrico Francescato, 22 Andrea Pratichetti, 23 David Odiete

Date: Saturday, November 26
Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Oisin Quinn (Ireland)