Planet Rugby

Preview: Leicester v Treviso

17th October 2013 11:19

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Thomas Waldrom communicating in a game

At eight: Thomas Waldrom

Leicester Tigers face a potential banana-skin with the visit of Italian Pro12 side Treviso in the Heineken Cup second round on Friday.

The Tigers, despite missing the likes of Manu Tuilagi and Tom Croft thanks to an ever-increasing injury list, have enjoyed a solid start to their Premiership campaign.

Their squad-depth has been tested in recent weeks, but their form has largely held, going into the Heineken Cup off the back of a tight home draw with much-fancied Northampton Saints.

The Tigers were castled in last week's maiden European clash away to Ulster, succumbing 22-16.

However, up against a fired-up Irish province, poor weather conditions and a typically partisan home crowd, the narrow loss was not hugely disheartening for the travelling supporters.

Indeed, Ravenhill is a ground associated with Heineken-heartbreak for the Tigers.

On their two European visits prior to Friday's fixture, the visitors suffered one-sided maulings at the hands of their rampant hosts.

However, this second round game is, to all intents and purposes, a must-win for Leicester. A bonus point victory should be the target for the Premiership side, with top spot in the pool likely to be hotly-contested.

Treviso have often been regarded as a tough side to break down, and have been known to present more illustrious counterparts with a tricky proposition, particularly at home.

Their Pro12 form has been good thus far, with an excellent home win over Connacht boosting morale ahead of a difficult home tie with Montpellier last week.

Their pack is bolstered by plenty of experience and grunt, spearheaded by Italian international hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini, and at fly-half, Kiwi Matt Berquist is kicking well.

Their trouble last season lay in inconsistency. A commanding victory was book-ended by two lacklustre performances, or demoralising defeats.

With a change of coach on the horizon at the season's end, Treviso will relish the opportunity to go head-to-head with one of Europe's heavyweights.

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Niall Morris, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Ed Slater, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Louis Deacon, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 David Mele, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Terrence Hepetema.

Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Andrea Pratichetti, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Christian Loamanu, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Manoa Vosawai, 5 Valerio Bernabo, 4 Antonio Pavanello (capt), 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Enrico Ceccato, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Franco Sbaraglini, 17 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, 18 Pedro di Santo, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Marco Filippucci, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 James Ambrosini.

Date: Friday, October 18
Kick-off: 20:00 BST (19:00 GMT)
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Laurent Cardona (France), Patrick Pechambert (France)
Television match official: Philippe Bonhoure (France)

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