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Preview: Connacht v Benetton Treviso

02nd November 2012 08:35

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Dave McSharry Connacht

At 12 for Connacht: Dave McSharry

Connacht will host Benetton Treviso on Saturday, with the visitors looking for a repeat of last year's win in Galway.

Danie Poolman will make his first start for Connacht after being named at outside centre for the clash this Saturday at The Sportsground.

Poolman is one of six personnel changes to the team that started against Ospreys last weekend, with four of those in the pack.

Denis Buckley returns to the starting XV this week at loosehead prop while Mike McCarthy, on his release from Irish camp, joins Michael Swift in the second row. Fit-again flanker Andrew Browne was back to full training this week and tomorrow joins Johnny O'Connor and Eoin McKeon in the back row.

The half back pairing of Kieran Marmion and Dan Parks remains unchanged, while Dave McSharry will start alongside Poolman in midfield.

Robbie Henshaw resumes the full back position for Saturday's clash while, on the bench, Gavin Duffy makes a welcome return to the squad.

This is Connacht's first home league match since the fantastic 34-6 win over Leinster in September and Head Coach Eric Elwood is looking for a repeat of that display against Treviso.

"It has become a must-win for us and it is well within our range. We just need to cut out some of the errors and capitalise on the chances we are creating."

"It has been a busy period but there is a break coming up and we need to go into that with a win under our belt," said Elwood.

Meanwhile, Treviso boss Franco Smith has brought in Luca Morisi, Manoa Vosawai and Alberto De Marchi, but is forced to field Giovanni Maistri in a temporary role and has added two permit players to the replacements.

These are Petrarca Padova's flanker Enrico Targa, and Cammi Calvisano's back Andrew Vilk.

There are plenty of changes to the starting XV. After having been on the bench in last season's PRO12, Marco Fuser makes his debut at lock together with Corniel Van Zyl; Angelo Esposito makes his first start on the left wing.

Christian Loamanu is at outside centre along with Andrea Pratichetti, while Brendan Williams is playing at full-back. The half-backs for the day are Fabio Semenzato and Alberto Di Bernardo, who has recovered from injury.

Valerio Bernaḅ is at flanker alongside Manoa Vosawai with Marco Filippucci at number eight. In the front row, Matteo Muccignat makes his debut, with Bees Roux at tighthead prop and Franco Sbaraglini as hooker.

Form: Connacht's only victory in their last five RaboDirect PRO12 encounters was 34-6 at home to Leinster in round five. The Irishmen have won their last three games against Italian opponents in all competitions. Benetton Treviso's two game winning run in the PRO12 ended at home to Glasgow Warriors on Saturday, whilst Treviso have lost their last six fixtures against Irish provinces, since beating Connacht 15-13 at Galway in this equivalent match last season. Honours are even in the four previous clashes between the two sides, with two wins apiece.

The teams:

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Nathan White (c), 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Denis Buckley
Replacements:16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Rodney Ah You, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 John Muldoon, 20 Mick Kearney, 21 Dave Moore, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Gavin Duffy

Treviso:15 Brendan Williams, 14 Andrew Vilk, 13 Christian Loamanu, 12 Andrea Pratichetti, 11 Angelo Esposito, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Marco Filippucci, 7 Valerio Bernaḅ, 6 Manoa Vosawai, 5 Corniel Van Zyl (c), 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Jacobus Roux, 2 Franco Sbaraglini, 1 Matteo Muccignat.
Replacements: 16 Enrico Ceccato, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 19 Giovanni Maistri, 20 Enrico Targa, 21 Giulio Toniolatti, 22 James Ambrosini, 23 Luca Morisi.

Date: Saturday, 3 November
Venue: Sportsground
Kick-off: 17:00
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Paul Haycock (Ireland), Eddie Hogan-O'Connell (Ireland)
Assessor: Michael Carroll (Ireland)

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Saturday , May 10
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RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
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  • Table
Pool 3
Heineken Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulouse623
2Saracens620
3Connacht613
4Zebre60