Preview: Treviso v Connacht

Date published: October 3 2013

Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made a number of changes to his starting XV for Friday's Pro12 clash against Treviso.

Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made a number of changes to his starting XV for Friday's Pro12 clash against Treviso at Stadio Monigo.

Up front, props Brett Wilkinson and Nathan White move to the replacements bench and make way for Rodney Ah You and Ronan Loughney.

Lock Aly Muldowney, who made quite an impression from the bench last week, replaces the injured Michael Swift. Muldowney partners Craig Clarke, who captains the side this week. George Naoupu starts at number eight.

Amongst the backs, Tiernan O'Halloran and Fionn Carr are named on the wings while Danie Poolman moves to outside centre to partner Eoin Griffin. Dan Parks starts at fly-half and will be joined by Paul O'Donohoe, who makes his first start at scrum half this season.

From the replacements bench, Mata Fifita and Jack Carty are in line to make their first competitive appearance of the season.

“With back-to-back physical games against Ulster and Ospreys and a short turnaround this week we have made a number of changes,” said Lam.

“Robbie Henshaw is with the IRFU player welfare programme and is unavailable for Treviso. We were also hoping to play James So'oialo but unfortunately his work permit is still yet to come through so we continue to wait.

“We were unfortunate with injuries again this week but that challenge gives our young players, such as Academy out half Jack Carty, the chance to step up and make their mark Jack has done extremely well in training and playing with the Eagles and he deserves his place in the squad this week.

“We face a tough challenge in playing Treviso and we know the level of physicality we can expect from them. For us, this week has been about improving the areas of our game which let us down last time out It's all about progress and improvement and we need to keep forging ahead.”

Meanwhile, Treviso have made three changes to their side. Alberto Di Bernardo returns to the starting fly-half berth while Brendan Williams is at full-back.

In the pack, Robert Barbieri returns at number eight.

Form: Treviso's only win so far this season in the RaboDirect PRO12 was 29-19 at home to Munster in round 3. The Italians have lost just one of their last eight games at Stadio Monigo in all competitions: 19-24 to Ospreys on 7th September. The most recent Irish Province to win in Treviso was Ulster 16-15 in November 2012. Connacht's only victory in their last seven PRO12 encounters was 25-16 at home to Zebre in round 1. The Irishmen are unbeaten in their last eight games against Italian opponents in all competitions. Connacht have the slight edge in previous meetings between the two sides, gaining three wins to two with one draw.

The teams:

Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Christian Loamanu, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Antonio Pavanello (c), 3 Alberto De Marchi, 2 Enrico Ceccato, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Giovanni Maistri, 17 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 18 Pedro Di Santo, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Luca Morisi, 22 Luke McLean, 23 Tobias Botes.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Paul O'Donohoe, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Craig Clarke (c), 4 Aly Muldowney, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Sean Henry, 1 Rodney Ah You.
Replacements: 16 James Rael, 17 Brett Wilkinson, 18 Nathan White, 19 John Muldoon, 20 Mata Fifita, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Matt Healy.

Date: Friday, October 4
Venue: Stadio Monigo
Kick-off: 20.30 local (19.30 BST /18.30 GMT)
Referee: Neil Hennessy (WRU)