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Preview: Leinster v Treviso

08th February 2012 13:05

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Kevin McLaughlin

Kevin McLaughlin: Leads Leinster

Leinster have named a team mixed with youth and experience to face Benetton Treviso in Thursday's RaboDirect PRO12 clash at the RDS.

Top-of-the-table Leinster are nine points clear of second-placed Ospreys and fourteen points clear of the fifth-placed Scarlets, so have a good cushion to keep their campaign for the finals on track.

Dubliner Colm O'Shea will make his debut for the province and the 21-year-old - who has featured in four British & Irish Cup games so far this season - will form a midfield partnership with Brendan Macken.

Isaac Boss links up with Ian Madigan at half-back, with Fionn Carr forming a pacey back three alongside Darren Hudson and Isa Nacewa.

Kevin McLaughlin leads the team after recovering from injury and is named in a back-row alongside fellow Ireland international Shane Jennings as well as Leo Auva'a.

Heinke van der Merwe makes his 49th appearance for the province and the South African is joined by Richardt Strauss and Nathan White in the front row.

Meanwhile, Treviso coach Franco Smith has been forced to make changes to his starting XV for the Round 14 hit-out.

The team landed in Dublin with a line-up that suffers from the absence of many players who are with Italy in Saturday's Six Nations match against England at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Gonzalo Garcia is back on the bench after having recovered from a shoulder surgery. Benjamin De Jager also returns on the pitch after having recovered from the chest injury suffered in November in the home match against the Irish side.

Treviso's half-backs are Alberto Di Bernardo and Alberto Chillon - the Petrarca Padova's scrum-half who already played for Benetton Treviso at the beginning of this season.

Hooker Enrico Ceccato, and props Matteo Muccignat and Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet make up the front row.

Valerio Bernaḅ captains the side and Francesco Minto (back on the pitch after having been disqualified in December) are in at lock, while Gonzalo Padṛ, Benjamin Vermaak and Marco Filippucci are playing in the back row.

Form: Leinster, who top the RaboDirect PRO12 standings, have reeled off ten successive victories in all competitions and are unbeaten in their last 16 matches since their 19-23 reversal at home to Glasgow on 17 September. Leinster's only previous defeat to an Italian side in PRO12 play was 13-29 in Treviso on 18 September 2010. Benetton Treviso have won just one of their last six encounters in all competitions: 37-14 at home to Aironi on New Year's Eve. Treviso have already won in Ireland twice this season, beating Ulster 23-12 at Ravenhill and Connacht 15-13 at the Sportsground. The two sides have met on five previous occasions in all tournaments with the Italians successful just once.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 Darren Hudson, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Colm O'Shea, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Leo Auva'a, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin (c), 5 Devin Toner, 4 Damian Browne, 3 Nathan White, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Heinke van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Andrew Boyle.

Treviso: 15 Ludovico Nitoglia, 14 Benjamin De Jager, 13 Ezio Galon, 12 Andrea Pratichetti, 11 Brendan Williams, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Marco Filippucci, 7 Benjamin Vermaak, 6 Gonzalo Padṛ, 5 Valerio Bernaḅ (c), 4 Francesco Minto, 3 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, 2 Enrico Ceccato, 1 Matteo Muccignat
Replacements: 16 Diego Vidal, 17 Carlo Fazzari, 18 Pedro Di Santo, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Enrico Pavanello, 21 Simon Picone, 22 Gonzalo Garcia, 23 Tommaso Iannone.

Date: Thursday , February 9
Venue: RDS
Kick-off: 19:05 GMT
Referee: Leighton Hodges

  • Treviso Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
Saturday , December 6
Benetton Treviso vs Northampton13:00
Saturday , December 13
Northampton vs Benetton TrevisoTBC
Saturday , January 17
Racing Metro 92 vs Benetton TrevisoTBC
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Sunday , November 23
Benetton Treviso vs Leinster14:30
Friday , November 28
Cardiff Blues vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Friday , December 19
Edinburgh vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Saturday , December 27
Zebre vs Benetton Treviso16:00
Saturday , January 3
Benetton Treviso vs ZebreTBC
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
  • Treviso Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 10
Benetton Treviso 6 - 9 ConnachtBenetton Treviso vs Connacht Report
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso 23 - 40 Glasgow
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton Treviso
Saturday , September 20
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton Treviso
Friday , September 12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 Munster
Friday , September 5
Ospreys 44 - 13 Benetton Treviso
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Pool 5
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Ospreys15
2Racing Metro Paris14
3Northampton10
4Treviso10