Preview: Treviso v Aironi

Date published: December 23 2010

It will be a historical day on Friday at Stadio Monigo as Treviso host the first ever Italian Magners League derby against Aironi.

It will be a historical day on Friday at Stadio Monigo as Treviso host the first ever Italian Magners League derby against Aironi.

Christmas will bring amazing rugby to the region, with a new challenge which will echo the past games between Treviso and Viadana.

Treviso Head Coach Franco Smith has recalled Brendan Williams into the number 15 jersey, with Ludovico Nitoglia and former Viadana player Michele Sepe on the wings.

Italians Alberto Sgarbi and Ezio Galon will start as centres, while Tobias Botes and Kristopher Burton will play as scrum half and fly-half respectively.

The front row will be formed entirely by Argentinean born players – Augusto Allori, Franco Sbaraglini and Pedro Di Santo.

Meanwhile, Aironi will be aiming for their second-ever victory. The starting XV is fairly similar to the one that beat Heineken Cup runners-up Biarritz two weeks ago, which gave the franchise the first victory in it's history.

Full-back Julien Laharrague has fully recovered from the hit which forced the French international to miss the final minutes of the Biarritz clash last week. Giulio Toniolatti and Matteo Pratichetti will play on the wings while Gabriel Pizarro and Rodd Penney will be the midfield combination.

Nick Williams is back at number eight. Marco Bortolami will partner his captain Quintin Geldenhuys in the second row, while the other Italian international Carlo Del Fava is back from the injury he suffered during the Test match against Fiji and will start on the bench.

The front row is unchanged.

“Normally derby games are physical,” commented Aironi Head Coach Rowland Phillips.

“Teams are a little bit conservative, no one wants to make mistakes, players are familiar with each other and there's always a lot of emotion. It will be a match with high intensity. What we need is to focus on continuing to improve our performances, take control of the emotions and enjoy the challenge.

“Treviso had a great start in the League and I'm sure they feel disappointed about their last results and will look to this game to be back on track. We know it's a great challenge and all the Aironi players are very excited about this game.”

Form:This is the first all-Italian derby in the history of the Magners League. Treviso have slipped to four straight defeats since their 24-17 victory at home to Connacht on 30 October. Treviso have a won 4, lost 2 record at home in the Magners League this season. Aironi secured a first ever victory two weeks ago at home to Biarritz in the European Cup, but are still to open their winning account in the Magners League. Neither Italian side has obtained a single league point away from home in any competition this season.

Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Michele Sepe, 13 Ezio Galon, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Ludovico Nitoglia, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Paul Derbyshire, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Marco Filippucci, 5 Corniel Van Zyl, 4 Antonio Pavanello (c), 3 Pedro Di Santo, 2 Franco Sbaraglini, 1 Augusto Allori.
Replacements: 16 Diego Vidal, 17 Lorenzo Cittadini, 18 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Benjamin De Jager, 22 Edoardo Gori, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti.

Aironi: 15 Julien Laharrague, 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Rodd Penney, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Matteo Pratichetti, 10 James Marshall, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Josh Sole, 5 Quintin Geldenhuys (captain), 4 Marco Bortolami, 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Roberto Santamaria, 17 Luca Redolfini, 18 Salvatore Perugini, 19 Carlo Del Fava, 20 Gareth Krause, 21 Pablo Canavosio, 22 Riccardo Bocchino, 23 Paolo Buso.

Date: Friday, December 24
Venue: Stadio di Monigo
Kick-off: 14.30 (13.30 GMT)
Referee: Carlo Damasco (Italy)
Assistant referees: Alan Falzone (Italy), Stefano Traversi (Italy)
TMO: Mauro Dordolo (Italy)