Preview: Treviso v Cardiff Blues

Date published: March 2 2012

Gareth Baber and Justin Burnell have made five changes to the Cardiff Blues team to face Treviso on Saturday.

Gareth Baber and Justin Burnell have made five changes to the Cardiff Blues team to face Treviso in a RaboDirect Pro12 clash on Saturday.

Full-back Ben Blair and centre Ceri Sweeney are promoted to the starting line-up at the expense of Tom James and Gavin Henson.

James is forced to contend with a spot on the bench while Henson falls out of the squad completely. Chris Czekaj moves to the wing to accommodate Blair's arrival.

Up front, T Rhys Thomas and Sam Hobbs pack down at hooker and prop respectively with Ryan Tyrell and John Yapp dropping to the bench.

Number eight Xavier Rush has recovered from illness and replaces Maama Molitika who is riding pine this week.

Meanwhile, Treviso are boosted by the return of scrum-half Fabio Semenzato who starts as captain alongside former Stormers fly-half Willem de Waal. Otherwise they are completely unchanged from the XV that lost against the Scarlets last Thursday.

Form: Benetton Treviso have lost their last four matches in the RaboDirect PRO12 since their 37-14 home win over Aironi on New Year's Eve. The Italians are unbeaten in their last three home games against Welsh regions in all competitions. Cardiff Blues' three game winning run ended narrowly in Munster on Friday. The Blues have not been victorious away from home in the RaboDirect PRO12 since a trip to Connacht on 29 October. Cardiff Blues have never lost to an Italian opponent in any competition. Treviso have lost all three previous encounters with the Blues.

The teams:

Treviso: 15 Ludovico Nitoglia, 14 Benjamin De Jager, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Andrea Pratichetti, 11 Brendan Williams, 10 Willem De Waal, 9 Fabio Semenzato (capt), 8 Marco Filippucci, 7 Gonzalo Padrò, 6 Manoa Vosawai, 5 Corniel Van Zyl, 4 Francesco Minto, 3 Pedro Di Santo, 2 Diego Vidal, 1 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet.
Replacements: 16 Enrico Ceccato, 17 Augusto Allori, 18 Carlo Fazzari, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Enrico Pavanello, 21 Simon Picone, 22 Ezio Galon, 23 Alberto Di Bernardo.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Richard Mustoe, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Ceri Sweeney, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Paul Tito (c), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Tyrell, 17 John Yapp, 18 Ryan Harford, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Maama Molitika, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Harry Robinson, 23 Tom James.

Date: Saturday, March 3
Kick-off: 16:30 (15:30 GMT)
Venue: Stadio Monigo
Referee: David Wilkinson
Assistant Referees: Giuseppe Vivarini and Stefano Roscini
TMO: Mauro Dordolo