Connacht unchanged for Italian trip
Rugby:Connacht coach Eric Elwood has announced their starting XV that will take on new club Zebre in the second round of the RaboDirect Pro12 tomorrow in Parma, Italy. There are no changes to the starting XV from last week and only two changes on the bench with Nathan White taking the place of Finlay Bealham and Frank Murphy stepping in for Dave Moore.
Connacht will be looking to convert last week’s possession and opportunities into points this week. Despite crossing the tryline twice in the first half and hour, handling errors denied the home side a try which would have made all the difference playing into the strong wind. The losing bonus point from that match means the league campaign is well under way and there’s more to come from Eric Elwood’s side this week.
Zebre’s French coach Christian Gajan has made four changes to the starting line-up in what is the franchise’s first home game in the Pro12. The 21-year-old Alberto Benettin will make his debut at second centre for the injured Roberto Quartaroli, while scrumhalf Alberto Chillon wins his first start in place of international Tito Tebaldi. There are alterations in the pack, with the return after injury of Mauro Bergamasco, the presence of former Munster prop Dave Ryan and the positioning of Test flanker Josh Sole in the secondrow.
Meanwhile, Benetton have made eight to the side that will face Munster tomorrow evening at Thomond Park. With Tomasso Iannone switching to the wing from outside centre, Luca Morisi lines up at 13. In the pack, hooker Enrico Ceccato and flanker Simone Favaro are the only two to retain their places.
Props Lorenzo Cittadini and Michele Rizzo have been recalled while Valerio Bernabò and captain Antonio Pavanello return in the secondrow. Dean Budd is in at number seven while Paul Derbyshire returns at number eight. Former Calvisano hooker Giovanni Maistri is likely to make his debut from the bench.
Franco Smith’s men beat Ospreys 12-6 at the Stadio Monigo last Friday.
ZEBRE:S Sinoti; G Venditti, A Benettin, G Garcia (capt), S Pace; L Orquera, A Chillon; S Perugini, C Festuccia, D Ryan; Q Geldenhuys, J Sole; F Cristiano, M Bergamsco, A van Schalkwyk. Replacements:D Giazzon, A de Marchi, L Redolfini, E Caffini, N Belardo, T Tebaldi, A Chiesa, R Trevisan.
CONNACHT:G Duffy (capt); T O’Halloran, E Griffin, M Fifita, F Vainikolo; M Nikora, K Marmion; D Buckley, E Reynecke, R Loughney; M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon, J O’Connor, G Naoupu. Replacements:A Flavin, R Ah You, N White, D Gannon, W Faloon, F Murphy, M Jarvis, R Henshaw.
TREVISO (v Munster):B Williams; L Nitoglia, A Sgarbi, L Morisi, T Iannone, A Di Bernardo, E Gori; M Rizzo, E Ceccato, L Cittadini; Pavanello, Bernabò; S Favaro, D Budd, , P Derbyshire. Replacements:G Maistri, A De Marchi, I Fernandez-Rouyet, C Van Zyl, R Barbieri, A Zanni, F Semenzato, K Burton.