Planet Rugby

Preview: Aironi v Connacht

25th March 2011 10:43

Share:

sean cronin connacht 2010

Return: Sean Cronin

Connacht have made one change to their starting line-up that will face Aironi in Italy this Saturday, as Sean Cronin returns to the side at hooker.

The Limerick native has 44 Magners League caps for Connacht in his three seasons and appeared in all of Ireland's Six Nations matches, bringing his total number of international caps to 12.

Mike McCarthy continues his partnership with Michael Swift in the second-row. McCarthy recently signed a new two-year deal and the 29-year-old's superb form this season saw him called into the Irish squad and earning his first cap for the Ireland Wolfhounds against the English Saxons.

Miah Nikora's knee injury ruled him out and his place is taken by Shane Monahan on the bench in the only other change to the matchday 23.

The teams met for the first time two weeks ago, when Connacht took the win 11-6 under the snow. This time could be different, with expected temperature over 20C in Viadana. B

Aironi's starting XV will also look different with Giulio Rubini back in the starting line-up at full-back, in a position he played for Rugby Parma in the Italian Super 10 in the last years and also for Italy when he made his international debut during 2009 Six Nations.

James Marshall, who started at full-back in the last two games, returns at fly-half.

Coach Rowland Phillips bet again on a couple of speedy wings with Kaine Robertson and Danwel Demas, while Matteo Pratichetti and Gabriel Pizarro play in the centre.

There is just one change in the pack to the team that played in Galway, with Fabio Staibano returning at tighthead prop. The only international returning from the Six Nations in the 23-man list is Pablo Canavosio, who will start amongst the replacements.

Form: Aironi gained their 6th losing bonus point of the season when they visited Connacht two weeks ago. Connacht's only defeat in their last seven matches in all competitions was 18-33 at Ospreys on 27 February. The Irishmen have lost on both their visits to Italy so far this season: 21-23 at Prato in the Amlin Challenge Cup and 17-24 in Treviso in the Magners League on 30 October. The two teams have met just once before with Connacht triumphing 11-6 at the Sportsground on 11 March.

The teams:

Aironi: 15 Giulio Rubini, 14 Kaine Robertson, 13 Matteo Pratichetti, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Danwel Demas, 10 James Marshall, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Gareth Krause, 6 Josh Sole, 5 Marco Bortolami (capt), 4 Joshua Furno, 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 George Biagi, 20 Nicola Cattina, 21 Pablo Canavosio, 22 Riccardo Bocchino, 23 Horacio San Martin.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Brian Tuohy, 13 Niva Ta'auso, 12 Troy Nathan, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 Ray Ofisa, 7 Johnny O'Connor (capt), 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Bernie Upton, 20 John Muldoon, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Keith Matthews, 23 Shane Monahan.

Date: Saturday, March 26
Kick-off: 17:30 (16:30 GMT)
Venue: Stadio Zaffanella
Referee: Neil Hennessy (WRU)
Assistant Referees: Giulio de Santis, Claudio Castagnoli (both FIR)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs SaleExeter vs Sale Preview
Bath vs WorcesterBath vs Worcester Preview
Wasps vs GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Preview
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Connacht vs MunsterConnacht vs Munster Preview
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Preview
Waratahs vs BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Preview
Sharks vs CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Preview
Stormers vs LionsStormers vs Lions Preview
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers2064
4Bath1959
5Harlequins2058