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Preview: Ulster v Aironi

03rd March 2011 10:55

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SKY_MOBILE RUAN PIENAAR

Ruan Pienaar: At fly-half for Ulster

Aironi and Ulster face off for the fourth time this season when they meet in the Magners League at Ravenhill on Friday.

Ruan Pienaar will start at fly-half half for Ulster. Brian McLaughlin has named the versatile South African in place of Ian Humphreys, while Paul Marshall comes in to fill the scrum-half position vacated by Pienaar.

McLaughlin has also changed his entire front row with Paddy McCallister, Nigel Brady and Tom Court replacing Bryan Young, Andi Kyriacou and Declan Fitzpatrick.

The final change to the starting team sees Paddy Wallace join fellow international Andrew Trimble in the backline as he replaces young Luke at inside centre.

The second row and back row combinations remain unchanged from last week's win over Cardiff and Johann Muller will again lead the side.

Robbie Diack and Simon Danielli are named among the replacements and will be hoping to make a big impact off the bench.

Ulster have beaten Aironi on three occasions this season and a fourth victory would continue their charge towards the Magners League playoffs.

Meanwhile, Aironi Head Coach Rowland Phillips has made a few significant changes to the starting line-up that lost to Munster last Sunday.

James Marshall will switch to full-back making space for Riccardo Bocchino at fly-half. The young Italian number ten will also take any place kicks, a big problem for Aironi last week. Danwel Demas and Kaine Robertson both return on the wings.

Pietro Travagli is scrum half, while in the pack the only changes are in the front row, with Ulyses Gamboa replacing Staibano at tight head prop and Roberto Santamaria hooking.

Tomasso D'Apice and Tito Tebaldi will start from the bench.

Form: Ulster have won five of their last six matches in all competitions, their only defeat being 22-23 at Ospreys in the Magners League on 13 February. The Ulstermen have met Italian opposition on nine previous occasions and won them all. Aironi are still without a win in the Magners League following their latest defeat, 10-20, at the hands of Munster at Stadio Zaffanella on Sunday. Ulster won 22-15 when the two teams met in Viadana in Round Six.

The teams:

Ulster :15 Adam D'Arcy, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Nevin Spence, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Chris Henry, 5 Tim Barker, 4 Johann Muller (c), 3 Tom Court, 2 Nigel Brady, 1 Paddy McCallister.
Replacements: 16 Andi Kyriacou, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Jerry Cronin, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Luke Marshall, 22 Simon Danielli, 23 Tommy Seymour

Aironi: 15 James Marshall, 14 Kaine Robertson, 13 Gilberto Pavan, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Danwel Demas, 10 Riccardo Bocchino, 9 Pietro Travagli, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Gareth Krause, 6 Josh Sole, 5 Marco Bortolami (cap), 4 Joshua Furno, 3 Ulyses Gamboa, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Luca Redolfini, 18 Andrea De Marchi, 19 George Biagi, 20 Nicola Cattina, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Gabriel Pizarro, 23 Giulio Rubini.

Date: Friday, March 4
Venue: Ravenhill, Belfast
Kick-off: 19.05 GMT
Referee: Leighton Hodges (WRU)