Preview: Treviso v Ulster

Date published: January 9 2015

Treviso make seven changes to the starting team that won the home derby against Zebre a week ago, to take on Ulster in the Pro12.

In the backs, a young international group includes Luca Morisi at inside centre pairing with Michele Campagnaro, while Edoardo Gori will be the scrum-half and moving Andrea Pratichetti to the wing.

Up front, there are two changes in the back row with Alessandro Zanni and Marco Barbini starting and with Rupert Harden returning to play at tighthead prop after recovering from injury. Tomas Vallejos replaces the ill captain Antonio Pavanello.

Meanwhile, there are two changes to the Ulster starting XV that lost to Leinster last weekend.

Louis Ludik, who was rested, returns to the side at full-back with Peter Nelson moving to the replacements bench.

Franco van der Merwe misses his first game of the season as he has a chest infection, so Alan O’Connor starts the match in the second row.

Ireland international Jared Payne has recovered from injury and is also named among the replacements.

Tommy Bowe, who sustained a dead leg against Leinster, is fit to face the Italian side and is joined by Ludik and Craig Gilroy in the back three.

Darren Cave and Stuart Olding continue in midfield, while Paddy Jackson and Ruan Pienaar maintain their partnership in the half-backs.

Wiehahn Herbst and Callum Black start either side of captain, Rory Best, while Dan Tuohy, who signed a new three-year contract with Ulster this week, is named alongside O’Connor in the second row.

The back row is unchanged from last week’s match with Roger Wilson at number eight, Robbie Diack at blindside and Clive Ross selected at openside.

Form: Benetton Treviso have won their last two encounters, both against Italian rivals Zebre, but have not won three in succession in the Guinness PRO12 since December 2012. Treviso drew 24-all at home to Leinster in their most recent encounter with an Irish team, but have not lowered the colours of a province since beating Connacht at Stadio Monigo in October 2013. Ulster’s only victory in the last four rounds of Guinness PRO12 action was at home to Connacht on 26th December. The Ulstermen have slipped to six straight defeats away from home in all tournaments since they visited Cardiff Blues on 19th September. Ulster have already lost in Italy this season, having been defeated 6-13 by Zebre in round four. Treviso’s only victory over Ulster in 14 previous encounters in all tournaments was 23-12 in Belfast in the PRO12 in October 2011, whilst Ulster have been victorious on all seven previous occasions they have visited Stadio Monigo.

The teams:

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Andrea Pratichetti, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Dean Budd, 7 Alessandro Zanni (c), 6 Marco Barbini, 5 Corniel Van Zyl, 4 Tomas Vallejos, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matteo Zanusso
Replacements: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Jos