Connacht face a tricky match in Italy
Treviso have lost just one game out of the last eight at their home ground Stadio Monigo
Craig Clarke (left), in the colours of previous club the Chiefs after winning the Super Rugby final against the Brumbies at Waikato Stadium last August, will skipper Connacht against Treviso tonight. Photograph: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images.
Pat Lam has made an interesting choice in making lock Craig Clarke captain for tonight’s meeting. The former “Baby Black”, Taranaki and Canterbury player brings experience to the position and to an injury-hit Connacht.
Treviso, who beat Munster, face an changed Connacht lineup, with Lam having to patch up a little.
Stadio Monigo is proving to be a difficult place to get points as Treviso have lost just one of their last eight matches there.
Quite an impression
Props Brett Wilkinson and Nathan White make way for Rodney Ah You and Ronan Loughney, with Aly Muldowney, who made quite an impression from the bench last week, replacing the injured Michael Swift in the secondrow, with George Naoupu starting at number eight.
Danie Poolman moves to outside centre for Robbie Henshaw, who is on the IRFU Player Welfare programme, with Dan Parks starting at outhalf. Paul O’Donohoe makes his first start at scrumhalf this season, with Kieran Marmion on the bench.
Treviso have made three changes. Alberto Di Bernardo returns to start at outhalf, while Brendan Williams is at fullback. Robert Barbieri returns to number eight.
“We know the level of physicality we can expect from them,” said Lam. “For us, this week has been about improving the areas of our game which let us down last time out. It’s all about progress and improvement and we need to keep forging ahead.”
Perhaps, though, not this week.
TREVISO: B Williams, L Nitoglia, M Campagnaro, A Sgarbi, C Loamanu, A Di Bernardo, E Gori, R Barbieri, A Zanni, S Favaro, M Fuser, A Pavanello (capt), A De Marchi, E Ceccato, M Rizzo. Replacements: G Maistri, I Fernandez-Rouyet, P Di Santo, V Bernabò, D Budd, L Morisi, L McLean, T Botes.
CONNACHT: G Duffy; T O’Halloran, D Poolman, E Griffin, F Carr; D Parks, P O’Donohoe; R Ah You, S Henry, R Loughney, A Muldowney, C Clarke (capt), A Browne, J Heenan, G Naoupu. Replacement: J Rael, B Wilkinson, N White, J Muldoon, M Fifta, K Marmion, J Carty, M Healy
Referee: N Hennessy (WRU)
Verdict: Home win