Aironi's last chance of glory


PRO 12 LEAGUE Connacht v Aironi:IT’S A poignant occasion for the visiting team as they play their last fixture in the tournament having lost their franchise status in Italy. The Federazione Italiana Rugby have yet to announce who will replace Aironi as one of their two representatives in both the RaboDirect Pro 12 and the Heineken Cup competitions.

This evening in Galway, Aironi will be trying to achieve a feat they have never managed previously; namely to win away from home.

It is, literally, their final opportunity. Aironi coach Rowland Phillips makes one change from the side that lost 26-23 to the Scarlets last weekend as Giovanbattista Venditti is back on the wing. Sinoti Sinoti switches to outside centre in place of Gilberto Pavan, the latter starting on the bench.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood also makes one alteration from the starting team that beat Ulster. Brett Wilkinson picked up a calf strain during the match and will now face a race against time to be fit for Ireland’s summer tour to New Zealand. He is replaced by Denis Buckley, who gave Tom Court an uncomfortable moment or two at scrum time last week.

CONNACHT: G Duffy (capt): T O’Halloran, K Tonetti, H Fa’afili, F Vainikolo; M Nikora, F Murphy; D Buckley, E Reynecke, R Loughney; M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon, R Ofisa, G Naoupu. Replacements: A Flavin, S Maguire, R Ah You, M Kearney, J O’Connor, P O’Donohoe, M Jarvis, E Griffin.

AIRONI: T Tebaldi; G Toniolatti, S Sinoti, M Pratichetti, G Venditti; L Orquera, T Keats; M Aguero, F Ongaro, L Romano; Q Geldenhuys, M Bortolami (capt); N Cattina, S Favaro, J Sole. Replacements: T D’Apice, A De Marchi, L Redolfini, J Furno, N Williams, N Olivier, G Pavan, P Buso.

Referee: I Davies(Wales).