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Match Preview: Benetton Rugby Treviso vs. Ulster Rugby

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:44 pm
by ADM
[tag=image] ... 02944e8980[/tag][tag=content]Last week wasn't perfect, but then again no opening day performance is.

We got the five points which is the most important thing, and it looks like we've unearthed two more back three gems in Rob Lyttle and Jacob Stockdale if their form so far is anything to go by. It's an excellent platform to build from going forward into this weekend and the season as a whole and it looks like our squad depth is holding up pretty well, especially at tighthead where Ross Kane (our fifth choice) did admirably on his debut.

Now we face one of the trickier away games of the season in Treviso. Theoretically it should be another five pointer given the quality of our opposition but, as proven many times before, it's very rarely a case of that formality. We may be the only Irish side not to have been defeated at the Stadio di Monigo, but don't forget we were a Michele Campagnaro intercept away from losing that record two years ago.

And Treviso have improved this year, none more so in the coaching standards where they have recruited former Canada head coach Kieran Crowley to run affairs. He may not be a miracle worker, but he will certainly add that little bit more that Treviso have perhaps been missing in recent years. With players like Marty Banks (who is yet to arrive), Tommaso Allan and David Odiete committing to the Leoni as well, things look positive for Treviso.

Therefore, it's vital that we don't underestimate them. While this still should be a game we can take five points from, away from home it's always key that we secure the win first and focus on any potential bonus point second. They will come at us with a very physical pack, which they will base their game around, and we will have to match them blow for blow.

But, they do have some obvious weaknesses to exploit. One win since February means morale cannot be overly high, regardless of how well they played in Dublin last weekend, and they still lack the depth in their squad to be competitive without their front line Italian stars. If we can get off to a quick start and negate any potential boost the Italians will get from their home crowd then this should be a game we can win easily.

We've switched a few players around this week - Rodney Ah You and Kieran Treadwell will make their competitive debuts out in Italy - but that should be no problem. If we approach this game in the right mindset then we should be walking away from the Stadio di Monigo with the maximum haul from our first two games.

And that's not something to be disappointed with.

The stats
Benetton Treviso have been victorious just once in the Guinness PRO12 since February: 22-21 at home to Connacht on 29 April.

Ulster remain as the only Irish province that Treviso have not beaten at home in the history of the PRO12.

Ulster have lost just one of their last six Guinness PRO12 encounters: 18-30 to Leinster in last season’s semi-final.

Ulster beat Dragons 29-8 in round 1 and have not won both of their opening two fixtures in the Championship since 2012/13.

Ulster’s only loss to Treviso in any tournament was 12-23 in Belfast in the PRO12 in October 2011, although the two sides did share a 29-all draw at the same venue in March 2013.

The teams
Treviso have made just one change to their team that lost to Leinster last weekend with captain Alessandro Zanni missing out due to injury. He is replaced by Marco Barbini in the back row with centre Luke McLean taking over the captaincy duties. Former Leinster fly-half Ian McKinley is named among the replacements.

Six changes for Ulster, with Luke Marshall the latest Ireland international to return to the line-up at outside centre. Louis Ludik also comes back into the back line for the injured Charles Piutau, while Rob Lyttle is promoted to the starting line-up in place of Craig Gilroy who is undergoing concussion protocols. Up front there are two new props in Kyle McCall and Rodney Ah You, who will make his competitive debut, as will lock Kieran Treadwell who comes in for Pete Browne.

Benetton Rugby Treviso vs. Ulster Rugby
Saturday 10th September, 17:05 (18:05 local)
Stadio Communale di Monigo
Guinness PRO12 - Round 2

Live on BBC2 Northern Ireland

15. Jayden Hayward, 14. Angelo Esposito, 13. Tommaso Benvenuti, 12. Luke McLean (capt.), 11. Andrea Buondonno, 10. Tommaso Allan, 9. Giorgio Bronzini; 1. Nicola Quaglio, 2. Ornel Gega, 3. Simone Ferrari, 4. Marco Fuser, 5. Filo Paulo, 6. Francesco Minto, 7. Marco Lazzaroni, 8. Marco Barbini.

Replacements: 16. Roberto Santamaria, 17. Alberto de Marchi, 18. Tiziano Pasquali, 19. Filippo Gerosa, 20. Dean Budd, 21. Edoardo Gori, 22. Ian McKinley, 23. David Odiete.

15. Louis Ludik, 14. Rob Lyttle, 13. Luke Marshall, 12. Stuart Olding, 11. Jacob Stockdale, 10. Brett Herron, 9. Ruan Pienaar; 1. Kyle McCall, 2. Rob Herring (capt.), 3. Rodney Ah You, 4. Kieran Treadwell, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 6. Clive Ross, 7. Sean Reidy, 8. Roger Wilson.

Replacements: 16. John Andrew, 17. Andy Warwick, 18. Ross Kane, 19. Pete Browne, 20. Robbie Diack, 21. Angus Lloyd, 22. Stuart McCloskey, 23. Darren Cave.

Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU, 62nd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sam Grove-White (SRU), Simone Boaretto (FIR)
Citing Commissioner: Stefano Marrama (FIR)
TMO: Charles Samson (SRU)[/tag]