Preview: Treviso v Munster

Date published: September 12 2014

Full-back Felix Jones will captain Munster for the first time when they face Treviso at the Stadio Monigo on Friday.

Full-back Felix Jones will captain Munster for the first time when they face Treviso at the Stadio Monigo on Friday.

In total Anthony Foley's starting line-up sees a change of eight personnel from the team that lost the league opener at home to Edinburgh last Friday night.

It was expected that Paul O'Connell would make his return to action on Friday, however he was a late withdrawal due to personal reasons and did not travel with the squad.

James Cronin returns to the front row for the first time after making his Irish senior debut on the Summer tour to Argentina and is joined in the front row by hooker Duncan Casey and tighthead Stephen Archer. Both Casey and Archer are promoted to a starting position having featured as replacements last weekend.

In the second row, Dave Foley is another promoted from the bench to a starting position and is partnered by Billy Holland who makes his second start in as many weeks.

CJ Stander retains his place at blindside flank, with Tommy O'Donnell making his first start of the season on the other side of the back row. Having made his first Munster appearance against London Irish in the pre-season SEAT Challenge and after missing out on selection last week due to bruised ribs, Robin Copeland is set to make his competitive debut for Munster at number eight.

As you were at half-back with Duncan Williams and Ian Keatley lining out again at 9 and 10 respectively.

In the centre Ivan Dineen makes his first PRO12 start of the season at inside centre with Andrew Smith moving to outside channel for this weekend's clash.

While in the back three, Simon Zebo and Andrew Conway retain their places on the left and right wings respectively, with returning international full-back Joneswho makes his first appearance of the new season.

Front row back-up is provided by John Ryan, Kevin O'Byrne and BJ Botha, with Donncha O'Callaghan and Sean Dougall completing the complement of forwards in the matchday squad.

Cathal Sheridan and Johnny Holland provide cover at half-back, while Ronan O'Mahony is also on hand for back-line cover.

Meanwhile, Treviso head coach Umberto Casellato has made two changes to his starting line-up for this encounter.

In the back-line, Henry Seniloli starts at scrum-half with James Ambrosini dropping down to the bench,

And amongst the forwards, Mat Luamanu takes over at number eight from Leo Auva'a who drops out of the matchday squad.

Form: Treviso have slipped to four straight Guinness PRO12 defeats since their 45-27 victory at home to Newport Gwent Dragons in April. The Italians have not beaten Irish opposition since Connacht visited Stadio Monigo in round 5 last season. Munster have now lost their last three PRO12 encounters but have not begun a season with a pair of defeats since 2004/05. The Munstermen's solo loss in their last five fixtures against Italian opponents came in this equivalent fixture in Treviso in round 3 last season. Treviso have won three of their last six encounters with Munster, whilst the Irishmen's only previous PRO12 victory at Stadio Monigo came in February 2012.

The teams:

Treviso: 15 Simone Ragusi, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Sam Christie, 11 Michele Campagnaro, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Henry Seniloli, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Tomas Vallejos Cinalli, 6 Meyer Swanepoel, 5 Corniel Van Zyl (c), 4 Marco Fuser , 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matteo Muccignat.
Replacements: 16 Giovanni Maistri, 17 Matteo Zanusso, 18 Salesi Manu, 19 Marco Lazzaroni, 20 Marco Barbini, 21 Alberto Sgarbi, 22 Angelo Esposito, 23 James Ambrosini.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones (c), 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Ivan Dineen, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Dave Foley, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Duncan Casey, 1 James Cronin.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O'Byrne, 17 John Ryan, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Donncha O'Callaghan, 20 Sean Dougall, 21 Cathal Sheridan, 22 Johnny Holland, 23 Ronan O'Mahony

Date: Friday, September 12
Kick-off: 20:00 local (19:00 BST)
Venue: Stadio Monigo
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Matteo Vivarini (Italy), Claudio Blessano (Italy)
Television match official: Carlo Damasco (Italy)
Timekeeper: Stefano Pennè (Italy)
Assessor: Rossano Faccioli (Italy)