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Preview: Leinster v Treviso

17th April 2014 12:41

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SKY_MOBILE Brian ODriscoll - Leinster European Challenge Cup

Back in blue: Brian O'Driscoll

Veteran centre Brian O'Driscoll returns to the Leinster starting lineup to take on Treviso in Saturday's PRO12 clash at the RDS.

There are two changes in the backs from the team that took to the field last week in the Liberty Stadium with O'Driscoll returning at 13 in place of Gordon D'Arcy and Darragh Fanning starting on the left wing in place of Dave Kearney. Noel Reid, who scored a try against Treviso in November, retains his place at inside centre, while Rob Kearney continues at full-back and Zane Kirchner plays on the right wing.

There is no change in the half-backs with Jimmy Gopperth and Isaac Boss continuing at ten and nine respectively. Gopperth kicked 14 points last week against the Ospreys and lines out for his 25th Leinster cap. Boss is edging ever closer to a century of Leinster appearances and tomorrow will mark his 95th game in blue.

Jamie Heaslip captains the side from number eight and the pack sees no changes in the front-row with Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Martin Moore starting once again.

There is one change in the second-row with Mike McCarthy starting in place of Leo Cullen and a further two changes in the back row with Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy starting in place of the injured Kevin McLaughlin and Shane Jennings.

Meanwhile, Marius Goosen has stuck with the same Treviso backline that smashed the Dragons at Stadio Monigo last weekend, with scrum-half Tobias Botes winning his 100th appearance for the club up against the league leaders.

In the front-row, Matteo Muccignat comes in at loosehead, with Marco Fuser and Valerio Bernabo starting in the second-row - skipper Antonio Pavanello drops to the bench.

In Pavanello's absence, experienced Italy hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini captains the side, with Dean Budd also restored to the replacements bench.

Form: Leinster have now lost their last two matches, at Toulon and at Ospreys, and have not lost three in a row since December 2012.

The Leinstermen are unbeaten in their last eleven PRO12 home matches including eight successive wins.

The Irishmen have never lost at home to an Italian side.

Treviso have won two of their last three matches whilst their bonus point win at home to Dragons on Saturday was their first five league point victory since round 22 last season.

The Italians have not been victorious in Ireland since beating Connacht in Galway in December 2011.

The two sides have met on nine previous occasions in all tournaments with Treviso's only previous victory being 29-13 at Stadio Monigo in the PRO12 in September 2010.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Daragh Fanning, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Martin Moore, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Brendan Macken

Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Christian Loamanu, 11 Angelo Esposito, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Paul Derbyshire, 6 Marco Filippucci, 5 Valerio Bernaḅ, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), 1 Matteo Muccignat
Replacements: 16 Giovanni Maistri, 17 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 18 Pedro Di Santo, 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Fabio Semenzato, 22 James Ambrosini, 23 Brendan Williams

Date: Friday 18th April
Venue: RDS
Kick-off: 1700 (local & BST)
Referee: Neil Paterson (Sco)
Assistant referees: Eddie Hagon-O'Connell, Will O'Connor (both Ire)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (Ire)

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