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Preview: Zebre v Edinburgh

28th March 2013 11:59

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Ross Ford Edinburgh v Treviso

100 up: Ross Ford

Edinburgh hooker Ross Ford will make his 100th appearance for the Scottish outfit in Friday's RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Zebre at Stadio XXV Aprile.

Ford's landmark will see him edge past the number made by interim coach, Stevie Scott, during his tenure as hooker from 1998 to 2002.

"Ross has been an exceptional servant to Edinburgh and Scottish Rugby, keeping himself in immense mental and physical condition throughout a very distinguished career to date," said Scott.

"He's a fantastic character and role model to young players and shows the relentless dedication you would expect from someone who has won 69 caps, captained his country and toured with the British Lions.

"It's great to have someone of his calibre reach such a milestone at the club."

Ford is one of four Scotland internationalists to return to the front-line following last weekend's 14-8 victory over Ulster at Murrayfield.

The remaining three are in the back division, with Tim Visser, Matt Scott and captain Greig Laidlaw starting at wing, centre and scrum-half respectively.

Perry Parker's inclusion is the only other change to the pack, as a replacement for Grant Gilchrist, who is absent because of a family bereavement.

Meanwhile, Zebre will hope to pick up their first win of the RaboDirect PRO12 season in this clash after falling to a 24-10 defeat against the Scarlets in their most recent outing.

Named in their side are Italy stars Giovanbattista Venditti and Gonzalo Garcia, who form the midfield while Luciano Orquera, Tito Tebaldi and Quintin Geldenhuys also make the XV.

Form: Zebre continue to search for that elusive first victory having claimed seven losing bonus points in the 18 rounds of the RaboDirect PRO12 played so far. Edinburgh's unwanted eleven match losing streak was finally halted last weekend with their home win over Ulster. Edinburgh's only two away victories this season came at Cardiff in round 2 and Connacht in round 10. The Capital side have already tripped up against an Italian opponent this season going down 22-27 to Treviso at Murrayfield in October, but have not been defeated on a trip to Italy since they visited Aironi on 24th September 2011. Edinburgh won 41-10 when the two sides met at Murrayfield in Round 3.

The teams:

Zebre: 15 Paolo Buso, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Giovanbattista Venditti, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Andries van Schalkwyk, 7 Filippo Ferrarini, 6 Josh Sole, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 David Ryan, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Andrea Manici, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Luciano Leibson, 19 Michael van Vuren, 20 Emiliano Caffini, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Samuele Pace, 23 Ruggero Trevisan.

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Greig Laidlaw (capt), 8 Netani Talei, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Stuart McInally, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Perry Parker, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Steven Lawrie, 17 John Yapp, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Robert McAlpine, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Harry Leonard, 23 Tom Brown.

Date: Friday, March 29
Kick-off: 19:00 local (18:00 GMT)
Venue: Stadio XXV Aprile
Referee: Sean Gallagher (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Stefano Traversi (Italy), Filippo Bertelli (Italy)
Television match official: Alan Falzone (Italy)

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