Preview: Zebre v Toulouse

Date published: December 9 2016

Zebre have made five changes for Saturday’s visit of Toulouse to the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Italy.

Dion Berryman switched from full-back to the left wing, with Edoardo Padovani taking the 15 jersey in his place. The other change in the backline sees Guglielmo Palazzani start at scrum-half.

Upfront there is a new face at number eight from last week’s side who lost to the Scarlets, with Federico Ruzza taking over from Andries Van Schalkwyk.

Gideon Koegelenberg starts ahead of Federico Ruzza in the second row, with the rest of the tight five remaining unchanged as Quintin Geldenhuys captains the side.

Meanwhile, Toulouse make only two changes to their starting XV from side who defeated Brive last Sunday in the Top 14.

Yoann Huget starts on the wing and Florian Fritz comes in at outside centre to replace Semi Kunatani and Yann David.

The pack remains unchanged with four new faces on the bench, with veterans Gurthrö Steenkamp, Thierry Dusautoir, Toby Flood and Paul Perez all selected.

Form: These are unprecedented times for Toulouse in European competition with no wins in their last six games – hardly the kind of return to expect for a team that has won the European Cup a record four times and been in two other finals. They lost the last four games of last season, were beaten by Connacht in Round One and then held to a draw by Wasps at home in Round Two. But the thought of Ugo Mola’s side going a seventh game without picking up some meaningful points is hard to imagine given them will be playing a team that has yet to post a victory in 14 games in the Champions Cup. Zebre are in their third season in the top-flight tournament and have yet to taste victory. But that was just how the Italian national side felt last month when they lined-up against the Springboks. This will be the third meeting between these sides in Europe with Toulouse winning both previous encounters, in 2014 and 2013 respectively.

The teams:

Zebre: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Tommy Castello, 11 Dion Berryman, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Guglielmo Palazzani, 8 Federico Ruzza, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Gideon Koegelenberg, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Tommaso D’Apice, 1 Bruno Postiglioni
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Guillermo Roan, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Valerio Bernabo, 20 Josh Furno, 21 Carlo Engelbrecht, 22 Matteo Pratichetti, 23 Giambattista Venditti

Toulouse: 15 Alexis Palisson, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Arthur Bonneval, 10 Jean-Marc Doussain, 9 Sébastien Bezy, 8 Gillian Galan, 7 Francois Cros, 6 Joe Tekori, 5 Edwin Maka, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Thierry Dusautoir, 20 Gregory Lamboley, 21 Luke McAlister, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Paul Perez

Date: Saturday, December 10
Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Kick-off: 20:45 local (19:45 GMT)
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Jonathan Hardy (Wales)
TMO: Neil Hennessy (Wales)


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