Planet Rugby

Preview: Treviso v Connacht

29th March 2013 11:45

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Adrian Flavin connacht v treviso

Treviso: Unbeaten in three outings

Connacht boss Eric Elwood has made four personnel and two positional changes to the team to face Treviso in Round 19 of the PRO12.

After going down to Munster last weekend, Connacht travel to Stadio Monigo in northern Italy for Saturday's game.

Jason Harris-Wright suffered a calf muscle strain during last weekend's interprovincial clash at Musgrave Park and is out of action this week as a result. Adrian Flavin is named at hooker, earning his 140th cap for Connacht.

Ronan Loughney comes into the front-row in place of Nathan White who moves to the bench.

The second-row is made up of Mick Kearney and Ireland international Mike McCarthy, who returns to the starting XV this weekend.

There's a reshuffle in the back-row with John Muldoon returning to his more familiar blindside flanker position. Willie Faloon, who picked up a slight ankle injury this week in training, is replaced by Galway-born Eoin McKeon at number seven. George Naoupu starts at eight.

On the bench, Dave Heffernan is named amongst the forwards' replacements. The 22-year-old, who recently signed a development contract that sees him progress to the senior squad next season, earned his first senior cap against Scarlets this time last year.

Form: Benetton Treviso are unbeaten in their last three RaboDirect Pro12 fixtures and are on target to produce a best ever finish in the competition. Treviso have won their last four games in the Pro12 at the Stadio Monigo, their best ever home run. The Italians are also unbeaten in their last two games against Irish opponents. Connacht's three game winning run in the RaboDirect Pro12 ended at the hands of Munster in Cork last weekend. Connacht's only two away victories in the competition this season came against Zebre in round 2 and Cardiff Blues in round 16. The Irishmen have won their last six matches against Italian opponents in all competitions. Connacht have the slight edge in encounters between the two teams winning three to Treviso's two, and were victorious 18-3 when Benetton visited Galway in Round 8.

The teams:

Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Gideon La Grange, 11 Edoardo Gori, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Dean Budd, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Corniel Van Zyl, 4 Francesco Minto, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Giovanni Maistri, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Jacobus Roux, 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Paul Derbyshire, 21 Marco Filippucci, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Kristopher Burton.

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Brian Murphy, 11 Gavin Duffy (c), 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Eoin McKeon, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Mick McCarthy, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Nathan White, 19 Andrew Browne, 20 Dave Heffernan, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Fetu'u Vainikolo.

Date: Saturday, 30 March
Venue: Stadio di Monigo
Kick-off: 20:00
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (SRU)
Assistant referees: Elia Rizzo, Filippo Navarra (both FIR)
TMO: Mauro Dordolo (FIR)

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