Preview: Munster v Treviso

Date published: April 24 2015

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Three players will make their debuts for Munster in Saturday's opening round Pro12 fixture against Treviso in Cork. 

John Madigan, David Johnston and Shane Monahan will make their competitive debuts for Munster, with New Zealander Tyler Bleyendaal another in line to do so after being named amongst the replacements.

Suffering no ill-effects from recent outings against Connacht and London Irish, hooker Mike Sherry makes a welcome return to PRO12 action for the first time since November 2013 and is joined in the front row by James Cronin and BJ Botha.

A contrast in milestones in the second row sees the academy's Madigan win his first Munster cap partnering Dave Foley who wins his 50th cap since making his league debut against Connacht in April 2010.

CJ Stander will again captain the side from the back of the scrum at number eight with Dave O'Callaghan and Jack O'Donoghue completing the pack at 6 and 7. 

Duncan Williams and Ian Keatley form the half-back partnership while Rory Scannell is paired with his academy colleague and debutant Johnston in the midfield. 

Felix Jones makes his first provincial appearance of the season at full-back with new cap Monahan and Andrew Conway taking charge of the flanks.

Successful rehabilitation of a groin strain sustained against Grenoble in recent weeks allows Bleyendaal take his place on the bench, while Cian Bohane is also included after rehabbing a knee injury that kept him sidelined for the past competitive season.

Meanwhile, Treviso are without eight players away on World Cup duty. 

There will be eight new faces in the XV chosen by Coach Casellato. Among the backs, there is the return of centre Tommaso Iannone, who partners Enrico Bacchin.

There is a debut for the New Zealander Chris Smylie at scrum half while Sam Christie deployed as fly-half. The back row sees newcomers Braam Steyn and Robert Barbieri join Dean Budd. Duncan Naude partners Tom Palmer in an all-new second row. 

The captain is loose head prop Alberto De Marchi while Roberto Santamaria fills in at hooker.

Form: Munster went into last season's Guinness PRO12 final on an unbeaten six match run, but were unable to wrestle the trophy out of Glasgow's grasp. The Munstermen have won their last nine home games in the PRO12 since Ospreys were victorious in Limerick in round 4 last season, although the Irishmen have not been defeated in Cork since Cardiff Blues were the visitors in January 2013. Benetton Treviso lost their last seven matches of last season since beating The Blues at Stadio Monigo in February, but have not won outside of Italy in the tournament since a trip to Scarlets in round 22 of the 2012/13 season. Munster have won their last three fixtures with Treviso since the Italian's 29-19 victory at home in round 3 two years ago. The Munstermen have won all seven home matches they have played against Treviso in all tournaments.

The teams:

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 David Johnston, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Shane Monahan, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 CJ Stander (c), 7 Jack O'Donoghue, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Dave Foley, 4 John Madigan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 James Cronin
Replacements: Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Stephen Archer, Robin Copeland, Shane Buckley, Cathal Sheridan, Tyler Bleyendaal, Cian Bohane.

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Henry Bacchin, 11 Andrea Pratichetti, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Braam Steyn 7 Dean Budd, 6 Robert Barbieri, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Duncan Naude, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 1 Alberto De Marchi (c),
Replacements: 16 Luke Bigi, 17 Zanusso Matthew, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 Phillip Gerosa, 20 Jean-Francois Montauriol, 21 Marco Barbini, 22 Alberto Lucchese, 23 Simone Ragusi

Date: Saturday, September 5
Venue: Irish Independent Park, Cork
Kick-off: 19:45 local (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland). John Carvill (Ireland)
Television match official: Alan Rogan (Ireland)
Assessor: John Sheehan (Ireland)

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