Preview: Ospreys v Treviso

Date published: September 16 2016

Tyler Ardron will make his 50th appearance for the Ospreys when he lines up against Benetton Treviso at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

The 25-year old Canadian has returned to action this season in some style following an injury hit 2015/16, featuring in both Guinness PRO12 matches so far and scoring a try in last weekend’s bonus point win over Connacht in Galway.

Head Coach, Steve Tandy, paid tribute to Ardron: “Reaching 50 appearances is a landmark to be celebrated and Tyler is now part of an exclusive club at the Ospreys. Tyler is a fantastic athlete and a skillful rugby player, with an outstanding work ethic and real leadership skills. He was sorely missed last season and having him back in the squad is like a new signing for us, giving everybody in the group a huge lift.

“He’s started the season really positively, showing what we missed last year, and we expect him to have a big influence over the coming months.”

Moving his attention to the match against Treviso, Tandy said: "As pleasing as it was to come away with five points (against Connacht), we know that there were areas of our game where we need to sharpen up. It's only going to get tougher over the next few weeks so nobody will be allowed to get ahead of themself. The season is only two weeks old so what the table looks like today is irrelevant really.

"The season is all about momentum and we are building nicely off the back of a good summer, and it's great that we are able to introduce a few more senior boys this weekend who can't wait to pull the jersey on again. The depth we are starting to develop is important for us over the course of a long season.

"It's not going to be straightforward on Saturday. Treviso have posed some real problems for Leinster and Ulster over the last couple of weekends, they will be physical and strong up front. We need to make sure we are on our game if we want to keep things ticking over, growing that momentum.”

Treviso have made 15 changes to their matchday squad to face Ospreys. The full-back will be Luke McLean with David Odiete and Andrea Buondonno on the wings. Tommaso Benvenuti and captain Alberto Sgarbi will form the midfield combination.

The half-backs are Edoardo Gori at scrum-half and Tommaso Allan at fly-half. The front-row will consist of Alberto De Marchi, Roberto Santamaria and Tiziano Pasquali.

The locks will be Filippo Gerosa and Filo Paulo. Finally, the back-row sees Dean Budd, Marco Lazzaroni and Marco Barbini completing forward pack.

Form: Ospreys' only defeat in their last six PRO12 matches was 26-46 at home to Ulster in Round 22 last season, a sequence which has seen them claim a try bonus point in each of those encounters and break the Championship record in the process. No side has ever started a PRO12 campaign with maximum points after three rounds. Treviso’s only victory since February was 22-21 at home to Connacht in Round 21. The Italians have not won away from home since the short trip to Zebre in December 2014. Treviso have beaten Ospreys just once in the PRO12, 12-6 at Stadio Monigo in August 2012, but they have beaten them twice at the same venue in the European Champions Cup in 2013 and 2015.  

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ben John, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Dafydd Howells, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Tom Habberfield (c), 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Paul James
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Ma'afu Fia, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Olly Cracknell, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Keelan Giles

Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 David Odiete, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi (c), 11 Andrea Buondonno, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Marco Barbini, 7 Marco Lazzaroni, 6 Dean Budd, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Filippo Gerosa, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Matteo Zanusso, 18 Cherif Traore, 19 Guglielmo Zanini, 20 Abraham Steyn, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Andrea Pratichetti

Date: Saturday, September 17
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Graeme Wells (Scotland), Martyn Lewis (Wales)
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)