Planet Rugby

Preview: Aironi v Ulster

10th September 2010 11:06

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Recovered: Fabio Ongaro

Aironi have announced an unchanged starting line-up for their second Magners League fixture, a home tie against Ulster at Stadio Zaffanella.

Experienced hooker Fabio Ongaro has recovered from a thumb injury he suffered against Munster and will be in the middle of the front-row between Alberto De Marchi and Salvatore Perugini.

The captain Quintin Geldenhuys and Carlo Del Fava, who spent two years playing for Ulster and skippered the side for part of the 2008-2009 season before moving in Viadana, are the locks; Erasmus and Krause are named as the flankers with Nick Williams at number eight.

However there are several changes on the bench, where Italian internationals Josh Sole and Pablo Canavosio made their first appearances of the season after recovering from injury, while hooker Luigi Ferraro and prop Luca Redolfini also find places on the bench.

Meanwhile, Ulster have made five changes to the starting line-up that defeated champions the Ospreys in Round One at Ravenhill last Friday.

Up front there are four changes of personnel and one positional switch. Tom Court and Chris Henry make their first Ulster starts having toured with Ireland while Rory Best and Stephen Ferris are rested as part of the IRFU's player management programme.

Court comes into the starting line-up at the expense of Bryan Young who drops to the bench while Nigel Brady assumes the hooker berth with Andi Kyriacou recovering from a dead leg to make the bench. The lock pairing of Muller, who will captain the side, and Barker is unchanged while in the back-row, Pedrie Wannenburg makes a positional switch from eight to the blindside flank to cover for the rested Ferris,.

Amongst the backs, McLaughlin has kept faith with is young back-three of Adam D'Arcy, Tommy Seymour and David McIlwaine while Darren Cave has a new centre partner in Paddy Wallace, another Ireland tourist making a first start as Ian Whitten drops to the bench. Niall O'Connor and Paul Marshall start again in the half-back positions.

Form: The two teams have not met before. Stadio Zaffanella in Viadana becomes the 34th different venue to stage a Magners League game. Aironi Rugby made their bow with a 17-33 reversal at the hands of Munster at Musgrave Park on Saturday. Just one previous Irish team has visited the Stadio Zaffanella: Munster in the 2002/03 Heineken Cup, returning home with a 55-22 victory over Viadana. Ulster have won their last three Magners League matches but have not begun a season with successive victories since 2006/07. The Ulstermen have won all four previous encounters against Italian sides (all against Benetton Treviso).

The teams:

Aironi: 15 Julien Laharrague, 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Dylan des Fountain, 11 Giulio Rubini, 10 Ludovic Mercier, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Gareth Krause, 6 Jaco Erasmus, 5 Quintin Geldenhuys (captain), 4 Carlo Del Fava, 3 Salvatore Perugini, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Alberto de Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Andrea de Marchi, 17 Luigi Ferraro, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Marco Bortolami, 20 Josh Sole, 21 Pablo Canavosio, 22 Alberto Benettin, 23 Gabriel Pizarro.

Ulster: 15 Adam D'Arcy, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 David McIlwaine, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg, 5 Tim Barker, 4 Johann Muller (capt), 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Nigel Brady, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Andi Kyriacou, 17 Bryan Young, 18 Paddy McAllister, 19 Ryan Caldwell, 20 Willie Faloon, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Jamie Smith.

Date: Saturday, September 11
Venue: Stadio Zaffanella, Viadana
Kick-off: 19.05 (17.05 GMT)
Referee: David Jones (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Stefano Penne, Stefano Roscini (both FIR)
TMO: Giulio Romano (FIR).

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