Preview: Treviso v Northampton

Date published: December 5 2014

Northampton Saints welcome back their international contingent for Saturday’s European Rugby Champions Cup clash with Treviso in Italy.

Sam Dickinson, who had his first action of the season coming off the bench at the Kassam Stadium last Sunday, comes into the starting line-up in the second row, meaning that Samu Manoa switches back to number eight and Phil Dowson moves to the flank.

In the backline, Ken Pisi swaps places with James Wilson on the wing, the Samoan starting for the first time since the November nternationals and the versatile Kiwi beginning the game on the replacements’ bench.

Wilson will be alongside the Saints’ returning England trio, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood, with George Pisi also returning to the match day 23 for the first time since the Champions Cup Round 1 trip to Racing Metro.

Meanwhile, there are several changes to the Treviso side that lost to Cardiff Blues last week.

In the front row, only hooker Davide Giazzon is retained and is joined by Matthew Muccignat and Salesi Manu. In the second row, Captain Antonio Pavanello links up with Francesco Minto, author of a remarkable double at Arms Park.

Azzurri flankers Alessandro Zanni and Simone Favaro are joined by Dean Budd in the back row.

The midfield statys the same while the back three sees the return of Simone Ragusi.

Form: These two sides have met twice before in European competition, in the pool stages back in 2009/10. Northampton won both of those games, edging to a 21-18 win in the first match in Italy. Treviso are still searching for their first win of the season, but did manage to secure a draw at home to Leinster in their last game at the Stadio Monigo. Saints have won two in a row in the league.

The teams:

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Simone Ragusi, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Sam Christie, 11 Ludovico Nitoglia, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Alberto Lucchese, 8 Dean Budd, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Antonio Pavanello (cpt), 4 Francesco Minto, 3 Salesi Manu, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matteo Muccignat.
Replavements: 16 Amar Kudin, 17 Matteo Zanusso, 18 Romulo Acosta, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Tomas Vallejos, 21 Marco Barbini, 22 Luca Morisi, 23 Edoardo Gori.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Tom Stephenson, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Phil Dowson (cpt), 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Sam Dickinson, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Mike Haywood. 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 George Pisi, 23 James Wilson.

Date:Saturday, 7 December
Venue: Stadio Monigo, Treviso
Kick-off: 14:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon