Planet Rugby

Preview: Treviso v Munster

19th September 2013 11:32

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SKY_MOBILE Peter O Mahony Munster

Leading Munster: Peter O┐Mahony

Munster are aiming to become the first side to begin a Pro12 season with three consecutive bonus-point victories when they travel to the Stadio di Monigo on Friday evening to take on winless Beneton Treviso.

Rob Penny's side comfortably defeated Zebre last time out and have made a blistering start to the season but will face a sterner test in Parma, at a ground where they've only won once before.

The Irish province have spent the past seven days in Northern Italy in-between their back-to-back away fixtures and are boosted by the availability of several first-choice players. Peter O'Mahony will captain the side on his return and completes a new-look back-row partnership alongside Niall Ronan and James Coughlan as Penny opts to shuffle his pack.

Tommy O'Donnell has been ruled out for 12 weeks with the knee injury he picked up last week but Irish internationals Simon Zebo and Keith Earls are named on either wing with the former making his first appearance since the Heineken Cup defeat to Clermont in April.

In two other changes, Duncan Williams and Ian Keatley form a new back-line partnership in place of Cathal Sheridan and JJ Hanrahan, who both drop to the bench which also includes Damian Varley and Donnacha O'Callaghan.

Meanwhile, Treviso coach Franco Smith has made several changes for the visit of the two-time Heineken Cup winners with Tongan international Christian Loamanu given the nod on the wing while there is a new midfield pairing as Alberto Sgarbi returns to partner Michele Campagnaro.

Elsewhere, Italian international Luke McClean switches to full-back and Mat Berquist is named at number 10 in place of Alberto Di Bernardo, who drops to the bench and scrum-half Edoardo Gori has recovered from muscle problems to take his place behind the scrum.

Prop Lorenzo Cittadini has been banned for three weeks after being found guilty of striking an opponent during the defeat to Scarlets last weekend, with Alberto De Marchi taking his place at tight-head, in one of five changes to the forwards.

Form:Treviso were defeated at home to Ospreys in round 1 and away at Scarlets in round 2, but have not lost three games in a row since last November. The Italians have drawn their last two games against Irish Provinces: 29-all in Ulster in March and 23-all at home to Connacht in April. The Munstermen's last two away games have both coincidentally been in Italy, beating Zebre in Parma on both occasions. Treviso have won two of their six previous encounters with Munster in the PRO12 whilst Munster's only victory in the competition at Stadio Monigo came in February 2012.

The teams:

Treviso: 15 Luke McClean, 14 Christian Loamanu, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Ludovico Nitoglia, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Antonio Pavanello (c), 3 Alberto De Marchi, 2 Enrico Ceccato, 1 Michele Rizzo
Replacements:16 John Maistri, 17 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 18 Pedro Di Santo, 19 Valerio Bernabo, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Robert Barbieri, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Alberto Di Bernardo

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 James Coughlan 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Peter O'Mahony (c ), 5 Billy Holland, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements:16 Mike Sherry, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Donnacha O'Callaghan, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Cathal Sheridan, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Ivan Dineen

Date: Friday, September 20
Kick-off: 20:30 local (19:30 BST)
Venue: Stadio Monigo
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Marius Mitrea (Italy), F Navarra (Italy)
Television match official: Mauro Dordolo (Italy)
Timekeeper: Valter Borghetto (Italy)

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