Preview: Treviso v Leinster

Date published: November 21 2014

Jordi Murphy and Dave Kearney will make their first appearances of the season when Leinster travel to Treviso this Sunday.

Jordi Murphy and Dave Kearney will make their first appearances of the season when Leinster travel to Treviso this Sunday.

Matt O’Connor welcomes back the pair who had sidelined them for the last few months. Murphy last played competitive rugby in June during the Ireland summer tour to Argentina, while Kearney hasn’t played since the Pro12 play-off win over Ulster in May.

With Kearney returning to the left wing and Darragh Fanning continuing on the right wing, this means a shift to outside centre for Luke Fitzgerald from the wing.

Inside Fitzgerald will be Noel Reid, while Luke McGrath and Jimmy Gopperth have been retained as the half-back partnership. Zane Kirchner continues at full-back.

Richardt Strauss starts at hooker having been a try-scorer for Ireland in last weekend’s win over Georgia, while Michael Bent and Tadhg Furlong start at loosehead and tighthead.

Tom Denton and Kane Douglas are once again selected in the second row, while in the back row Kevin McLaughlin once again captains the side with Murphy at openside flanker and Jack Conan again selected at number eight.

Among the replacements is Jamie Hagan who arrived during the week on a short term loan deal from London Irish.

Meanwhile Ludovico Nitoglia will earn his 100th cap in green and white and will enter the pitch before his teammates and alongside Corniel Van Zyl, who made his 150th appearance for the club in the last game in Glasgow.

In the scrum, Dean Budd is finally back, while in the backline Joe Carlisle will return at fly-half, thus moving Sam Christie to inside centre.

Form: Benetton Treviso have lost their last dozen matches in all tournaments since their 45-27 victory at home to Newport Gwent Dragons in the PRO12 on 12th April. Treviso’s most recent win over an Irish province came in October 2013 at home to Connacht, since then they have lost all nine such encounters and have scored just two tries in their last eight. Leinster have won their last four fixtures in all tournaments since tripping up to Munster at the Aviva Stadium in round 5 of the Guinness PRO12. The Leinstermen have won their last 16 matches against Italian opponents in the PRO12 with their only such defeat being in Treviso in September 2010. The two sides have met on ten previous occasions in all tournaments with Treviso’s solitary victory being 29-13 at Stadio Monigo in the PRO12 in September 2010.

The teams:

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Andrea Pratichetti, 13 Enrico Bacchin, 12 Sam Christie, 11 Ludovico Nitoglia, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Alberto Lucchese, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Dean Budd, 6 Marco Barbini, 5 Corniel Van Zyl (c), 4 Tomas Vallejos, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matteo Zanusso
Replacements: 16 Amar Kudin, 17 Jos