Planet Rugby

Preview: Ospreys v Treviso

12th January 2012 12:39

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SKY_MOBILE Tommy Bowe - Ospreys

Ospreys hitman: Tommy Bowe

The Ospreys will be looking to maintain their unbeaten record against Italian sides when they host Treviso at the Liberty Stadium on Friday.

Ospreys needed a late penalty to snatch a draw in the away game in Italy. The home side will be determine to re-establish their winning record at 'Fortress Liberty' in the Heineken Cup after their home 13-16 defeat to Saracens last time out.

The Welsh side's hopes of a quarter-final place are slim, with Saracens and Biarritz Olympique in pole position to fight it out for a place in the knockout stages, but they can still have a major impact on who does qualify.

Ospreys failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time in three years last season and face ignominy of doing the same this season.

Treviso, who have never made it out of the Pool stages in the tournament, will be looking to go one better and will be looking for their first win against their fellow Pro 12 outfit.

"We've still got something to play for in Europe and we'll strive for that," said Ospreys Head Coach Sean Holley.

"We're going to try and finish as strongly as we can and then see what happens at the outcome.

"We're still smarting at the Saracens games, we gave them a head start, but we can't dwell on that, we've got to look at these next two games now and getting as much as we can out of them. It's about giving a good account of ourselves and at least putting ourselves in a position where should all the other permutations work out we are well placed. If they don't, then we at least need to be in the best position to achieve an Amlin place, which could be on the cards.

"There's been plenty of straight talking about the place and everyone knows what is at stake. There's still plenty to play for. Pride is there at the bottom line of it, our reputation is at stake in Europe and it's important that we get as many ranking points as we can, and to do that we have to achieve as positive a finish as we can. Ranking points and the pool draw is crucial moving forward in this competition.

"We aren't going to be throwing the towel in, that's not the Ospreys way. We are committed to the cause 100 per cent and we'll fight for everything. We have to look to give a home performance that will get us the desired result and will make our supporters proud. Any game in Europe is a tough test and It's important that we're all together for this one, team and supporters alike."

In team news, George Stowers was handed a four-week ban at a PRO12 disciplinary hearing on Thursday but Jonathan Thomas was cleared to play.

Ryan Jones( calf), James King (ear), Richard Fussell (ankle), Alun Wyn Jones (foot) and Nikki Walker (ACL) are amongst the players not considered because of injury.

Treviso boss Franco Smith has made a host of changes to his side, with injuries, suspensions and tactical tweaks ensuring that a much-changed team will take the park on Friday.

Brendan Williams switches from the wing to full-back in place of Luke McLean, with Tommaso Iannone replacing him out wide.

In the midfield, Tommaso Benvenuti replaces Alberto Sgarbi at outside centre while Edoardo Gori comes in at nine for Tobais Botes.

The back row sees two changes, with Marco Filippucci starting at number eight while Paul Derbyshire packs down at six. It's all change in the locks, with Valerio Bernabo and Gonzalo Padrņ replacing Cornielius Van Zyl and Antonio Pavanello.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Barry Davies, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric (c), 6 Tom Smith, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 Ryan Bevington 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Jonathan Thomas 20 Chauncey O'Toole, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Tom Isaacs.

Treviso: Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Alberto Sgarbi, 12 Andrea Pratichetti, 11 Tommaso Iannone, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Marco Filippucci, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Paul Derbyshire, 5 Valerio Bernabo, 4 Gonzalo Padrņ, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Franco Sbaraglini, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Enrico Ceccato, 17 Augusto Allori, 18 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, 19 Cornelius van Zyl, 20 Benjamin Vermaak, 21 Simon Picone, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Tobias Botes.

Date: Friday, January 13
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Kick-off: 20.00 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle

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