Preview: Zebre v Ulster

Date published: November 29 2013

Mark Anscombe has made seven changes to the team that beat Edinburgh for Saturday's Pro12 visit to Zebre at Stadio XXV Aprile.

Mark Anscombe has made seven changes to the team that beat Edinburgh for Saturday's Pro12 visit to Zebre at Stadio XXV Aprile.

Ricky Andrew, who scored a try against Zebre at Ravenhill last season, starts at fullback in place of Craig Gilroy who moves to the left wing.

Andrew Trimble continues on the right wing, alongside Darren Cave and Luke Marshall who keep their places in midfield.

Ireland fly-half, Paddy Jackson, returns to the Ulster line up and is partnered by Paul Marshall in the halfbacks.

Up front, Tom Court is selected at loosehead with Callum Black moving to the bench. Rob Herring and All Black prop John Afoa keep their places in the front row.

With injuries to both Lewis Stevenson (medial ligament) and Iain Henderson (hamstring), there is a new second row, with Neil McComb selected alongside Dan Tuohy.

Robbie Diack captains the Province for the second time from blindside flanker with Mike McComish named at openside and Roger Wilson starting at Number 8.

Tommy Bowe and Ruan Pienaar were rested for the match following their involvement in the Autumn internationals.

Meanwhile, Zebre start with a highly-experienced second-row pairing of Quentin Geldenhuys and Marco Bortolami.

In the front-row, hooker Tommaso D'Apice is joined by Matias Aguero and David Ryan, while returning Italy fly-half Luciano Orquera is named among the substitutes.

Form: Zebre are without a win in their last five Pro12 matches but did draw 16-all at home to Scarlets in round 6.

Zebre have lost all ten previous matches they have played against Irish provinces earning just three losing bonus points and one try bonus from those encounters.

Ulster's only loss in their last eight matches in all tournaments was 9-17 at Scarlets in round 7 of the Pro12. The Ulstermen have lost only once to an Italian opponent in any tournament: 12-23 at home to Treviso in the Pro12 in October 2011.

The two sides have met on two previous occasions Ulster winning narrowly in Parma last November and more easily in Belfast in February.

The teams:

Zebre: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Tommaso Iannone, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Nicola Cattina, 6 Mauro Bergamasco, 5 Marco Bortolami (c), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 David Ryan, 2 Tommaso D'Apice, 1 Matias Aguero
Replacements: 16 Andrea Manici, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Luciano Leibson, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Alberto Chilloni, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Roberto Quartaroli

Ulster: 15 R Andrew, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Mike McComish, 6 Robbie Diack (c), 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Neil McComb, 3 John Afoa, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Tom Court
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Callum Black, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 Craig Joyce, 20 Sean Doyle, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 James McKinney, 23 Michael Allen.

Date: Saturday 30th November
Venue: Stadio Aprille XVV
Kick-off: 1500 local, 1400 GMT
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Giuseppe Vivarini, Stefano Roscini (both Italy)
TMO: Carlo Damasco