Planet Rugby

Preview: Treviso v Ulster

21st February 2014 11:04

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At ten: Ruan Pienaar

Springbok Ruan Pienaar will start at fly-half for Ulster against Treviso during Sunday's PRO12 clash at Stadio Monigo.

Pienaar is partnered in the half-backs by Paul Marshall, who makes his first Ulster start since December.

Darren Cave, switches from inside centre back to his more familiar role at outside centre, with Jared Payne, Craig Gilroy and Luke Marshall, who all scored tries in the Heineken Cup Pool 5 match against Treviso at Stadio Monigo in December, also named in the backline.

Up front, Ricky Lutton starts at tighthead, with Rob Herring named at hooker and Tom Court selected at loosehead.

Johann Muller captains the side from the second row where he is joined by Lewis Stevenson who has recovered from the neck injury that he sustained against Ospreys.

Robbie Diack, Sean Doyle and Roger Wilson are all named in the back-row, with Wilson set to make his 147th appearance for his Province.

John Afoa has returned to New Zealand due to a family bereavement, and fellow Kiwi Nick Williams was unavailable for selection.

Meanwhile, Mat Berquist steps into the Treviso lineup at fly-half for James Ambrosini, while Brendan Williams shifts to full-back to accommodate Andrea Pratichetti on the left wing.

Alberto Sgarbi starts at outside centre, while in the pack, captain Antonio Pavanello partners Valerio Bernabo in the second-row.

Form: Treviso have slipped to five straight defeats in all competitions since beating Zebre over Christmas.

Treviso were defeated by the Scarlets in their most recent home game in the PRO12 and have not lost successive matches in the tournament at Stadio Monigo since November 2012.

Ulster's only defeat in their last ten fixtures in all tournaments since early November was 6-19 to Leinster at the RDS in the PRO12 on 28th December.

The Ulstermen's only previous defat to an Italian opponent came in October 2011 at Ravenhill when Treviso were the visitors.

The two sides have met on 13 previous occasions in all tournaments with Ulster winning 11, Treviso 1 and one match drawn, however curiously Ulster have won on all six previous visits to Stadio Monigo.

The teams:

Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Alberto Sgarbi, 12 Henry Bacchin, 11 Andrea Pratichetti, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Marco Filippucci, 7 Meyer Swanepoel, 6 Manoa Vosawai, 5 Valerio Bernabo, 4 Antonio Pavanello (c), 3 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 2 Franco Sbaraglini, 1 Matthew Muccignat
Replacements: 16 Enrico Ceccato, 17 John Maistri, 18 Romulo Acosta, 19 Corniel Van Zyl, 20 Edward Lubian, 21 Alberto Lucchese, 22 Joe Van Niekerk, 23 Alberto Di Bernardo

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Sean Doyle, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Lewis Stevenson, 4 Johann Muller (c), 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Tom Court
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Callum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Ricky Andrew, 23 Rory Scholes.

Date: Sunday 23rd February
Venue: Stadio Monigo
Kick-off: 1500 local, 1400 GMT
Referee: George Clancy (Ire)
Assistant referees: Marius Mitrea, Andrea Spadoni (both Ita)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Ita)

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