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Preview: Zebre v Ospreys

03rd October 2012 15:54

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Sinoti Sinoti in action for Zebre

Running threat: Sinoti Sinoti

Zebre will be without injured fly-half Luciano Orquera for Friday's PRO12 clash with reigning champions the Ospreys at Stadio XXV Aprile.

Orquera has a sprained ankle and is replaced by Alberto Chiesa in the number 10 jersey while Giovanbattista Venditti returns on the wing.

In the only other change to Christian Gajan's starting line-up, Emiliano Caffini is included ahead of Filippo Cristiano on the blindside.

There is a great deal of movement on the bench however as Carlo Festuccia, Salvatore Perugini, Flavio Tripodi, Filippo Ferrarini, Josh Sole, Alberto Benettin and Leonardo Sarto all make the squad.

Meanwhile, Ospreys coach Steve Tandy is not underestimating the Zebre, who lost narrowly to Glasgow Warriors last week, and named a formidable starting line-up.

"This is a big game for us and it's important that we keep the momentum that we've built up over the last couple of weeks going," explained Tandy.

"The whole squad has worked hard and last Saturday you could see clear signs that we are heading in the right direction.

"The win over Munster was about attitude, desire and commitment, typified by the way the team defended in their 22 in the closing minutes, they weren't content to just sit back with the game won.

"We can't get carried away though, we realise that we aren't perfect and we've still got a lot of work to do, there's plenty to put right.

"It's the first time for us to play Zebre but as a group we are all well aware of the threat they'll pose.

"We've struggled in Italy before, not least the defeat to Treviso at the start of this season so we know that we will have to approach the game just like we did the Scarlets and Munster matches and be at our very best, before coming home to kick-off Europe against Treviso at the Liberty Stadium the following Friday, another very difficult game against a very good team where we'll need the backing of a big, passionate crowd to help us."

Replacement hooker Richard Hibbard will make his 150th Ospreys appearance if he comes off the bench.

Form: Zebre gained their first ever league point during Friday's narrow 19-22 defeat at Glasgow despite being tied with just eight minutes remaining. Just one previous RadoDirect PRO12 encounter has been played in Parma: Zebre losing there 17-30 to Connacht in round two. Ospreys have won their last two games against Scarlets and Munster following losses in the first three rounds of the PRO12 this season. Ospreys have won five of their last six games played away from Liberty Stadium in the competition. The Welshmen have already lost in Italy this campaign: 6-12 at Treviso in round one. The two sides have not met before.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Zebre: 15 Daniel Halangahu, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Matteo Pratichetti, 12 Gonzalo Garcia (capt), 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Alberto Chiesa, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Emiliano Caffini, 5 Michael Van Vuren, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Luca Redolfini, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Flavio Tripodi, 19 Filippo Ferrarini, 20 Josh Sole, 21 Luca Martinelli, 22 Alberto Benettin, 23 Leonardo Sarto.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Ryan Jones, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Joe Bearman, 20 George Stowers, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Ross Jones, 23 Jonathan Spratt.

Date: Friday, October 5
Kick-off: 19:05 (18:05 BST, 17:05 GMT
Venue: Stadio XXV Aprile
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Stefano Pennč (Italy), Filippo Bertelli (Italy)
Television match official: Stefano Marrama (Italy)

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Friday , October 31
Glasgow vs Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Ospreys vs ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Preview
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Saturday , November 1
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Scarlets vs Zebre18:00
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:35
Friday , November 21
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Munster19:30
Connacht vs Zebre19:35
Ulster vs Ospreys19:35
Scarlets vs Glasgow19:35
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Ospreys 26 - 15 Cardiff BluesOspreys vs Cardiff Blues Report
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Edinburgh 24 - 10 Newport Gwent D'gonsEdinburgh vs Newport Gwent D
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Benetton Treviso 23 - 40 Glasgow
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3Ulster622
4Munster619
5Connacht618