Preview: Ulster v Treviso

Date published: March 2 2017

Ulster have announced their side for Friday's PRO12 fixture versus Treviso at Kingspan Stadium.

Ireland internationals Andrew Trimble, Craig Gilroy and Jared Payne have been included in Ulster's backline while Springbok flank Marcell Coetzee is also named in the starting XV after recovering from an illness that saw him miss Sunday's bonus point win over Zebre.

Les Kiss will start Gilroy at full-back for the first time this season, while Trimble and Charles Piutau will occupy the wing berths.

Payne, who featured off the bench against the Italians, will start in the 13 jersey, with Stuart Olding alongside him in midfield. Pete Nelson and Ruan Pienaar will continue their successful half-back partnership for the fourth consecutive match. 

Rob Herring will again captain the side from hooker and he will be joined in the front row by props Callum Black and Wiehahn Herbst. Kieran Treadwell and Franco van der Merwe will pack down in the second row and the loose forwards are Coetzee, Roger Wilson and Sean Reidy.

John Andrew, Andy Warwick and Ricky Lutton will provide back up for the front row, with Pete Browne and Clive Ross and named as the additional forward replacements. Paul Marshall, Luke Marshall and Jacob Stockdale will offer strong cover for the backline.

Meanwhile, Treviso have made one change to the side that played Connacht.

The back three will be made up of Luca Sperandio while on the wings and he is joined by the returning Angelo Esposito and Andrea Buondonno in the 11 jersey. The centres consist of Tommaso Iannone and Michael Tagicakibau.

Inside them is Tito Tebaldi at nine and Ian McKinley at fly-half.

In the front-row Federico Zani, Luca Bigi and Tiziano Pasquali start with Bigi starting in the two jersey.

They will be backed up by Teofilo Paulo and captain Dean Budd in the second row while Marco Lazzaroni, Francesco Minto and Robert Barbieri make up the loose-forwards.

Form: Ulster have won their last three matches in the Guinness PRO12 with maximum points since going down to Scarlets in Llanelli in round 13. They have never achieved four bonus point victories in a row in the Championship. Ulster have lost just once at home in the PRO12 in the past twelve months: 14-15 to Munster in October. Treviso have not won since beating Zebre on 23 December. Treviso's two most recent victories over an Irish province have both been against Connacht, in 2013 and 2016. The two sides have met on nineteen previous occasions in all tournaments with Ulster’s only defeat being 12-23 in Belfast in the Guinness PRO12 in October 2011.

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Craig Gilroy, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Peter Nelson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Roger Wilson, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rob Herring (c), 1 Callum Black 
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Pete Browne, 20 Clive Ross, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Luke Marshall, 23 Jacob Stockdale

Treviso: 15 Luca Sperandio, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Michael Tagicakibau, 11 Andrea Buondonno, 10 Ian McKinley, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Francesco Minto, 6 Marco Lazzaroni, 5 Dean Budd (c), 4 Teofilo Paulo, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Federico Zani.
Replacements: 16 Roberto Santamaria, 17 Romulo Acosta, 18 Matteo Zanusso, 19 Filippo Gerosa, 20 Guglielmo Zanini, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Alberto Sgarbi, 23 Andrea Pratichetti

Date: Friday, March 2
Venue: Kingspan Stadium
Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Helen O’Reilly (Ireland)
TMO: Neil Hennessy (Wales)

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