12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
BENETTON TREVISO (9th) v CONNACHT (11th), Stadio di Monigo, 8.30pm local time/7.30pm Irish time (live TG4/Mediaset)
Team News: Connacht have departed for their second away trip of the season and will face Benetton Treviso at Stadio di Monigo on Friday night.
The province's head coach Pat Lam has made a number of changes to the starting line-up from last weekend's home defeat to the Ospreys.
Up front, props Brett Wilkinson and Nathan White move to the replacements bench and make way for Rodney Ah You and Ronan Loughney.
Lock Aly Muldowney, who made quite an impression from the bench against the Ospreys, replaces the injured Michael Swift. Muldowney partners Craig Clarke who captains the side this week, with George Naoupu starting at number 8.
In the backs, Tiernan O'Halloran and Fionn Carr are named on the wings while Danie Poolman moves to outside centre to partner Eoin Griffin.
The league's record points scorer Dan Parks starts at out-half and will be joined by Paul O'Donohoe, who makes his first start at scrum half this season.
From the replacements bench, Mata Fifita and Jack Carty are in line to make their first competitive appearances of the season in Italy.
Meanwhile, Benetton Treviso boss Franco Smith has made three changes in personnel as the Italians look to bounce back from a 19-point defeat to Ulster in Belfast.
There are two switches in the back-line as Brendan Williams comes in at full-back for the benched Luke McLean, while Mat Berquist makes way at out-half for the returning Alberto di Bernardo.
The front five remains intact from the Ulster game, with Robert Barbieri earning a start at number 8 at the expense of Fijian Manoa Vosawai.
BENETTON TREVISO: Brendan Williams; Ludovico Nitoglia, Michele Campagnaro, Alberto Sgarbi, Christian Loamanu; Alberto di Bernardo, Edoardo Gori; Michele Rizzo, Enrico Ceccato, Alberto de Marchi, Antonio Pavanello (capt), Marco Fuser, Simone Favaro, Alessandro Zanni, Robert Barbieri.
Replacements: Giovanni Maistri, Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, Pedro di Santo, Valerio Bernabò, Dean Budd, Luca Morisi, Luke McLean, Tobie Botes.
CONNACHT: Gavin Duffy; Tiernan O'Halloran, Danie Poolman, Eoin Griffin, Fionn Carr; Dan Parks, Paul O'Donohoe; Rodney Ah You, Sean Henry, Ronan Loughney, Aly Muldowney, Craig Clarke (capt), Andrew Browne, Jake Heenan, George Naoupu
Replacements: James Rael, Brett Wilkinson, Nathan White, John Muldoon, Mata Fifita, Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty, Matt Healy.
Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Alan Falzone, Simone Boaretto (both Italy)
Television Match Official: Mauro Dordolo (Italy)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Benetton Treviso to win: 2/9; Draw: 25/1; Connacht to win: 16/5
Pre-Match Quotes: Pat Lam (Connacht) - "With back-to-back physical games against Ulster and the Ospreys and a short turnaround this week we have made a number of changes.
"Robbie Henshaw is with the IRFU player welfare programme and is unavailable for Treviso. We were also hoping to play James So'oialo but unfortunately his work permit is still yet to come through so we continue to wait.
"We were unfortunate with injuries again this week but that challenge gives our young players, such as Academy out-half Jack Carty, the chance to step up and make their mark.
"Jack has done extremely well in training and playing with the Eagles and he deserves his place in the squad this week.
"We face a tough challenge in playing Treviso and we know the level of physicality we can expect from them.
"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."
Top Scorers - 2013/14 RaboDirect PRO12: Benetton Treviso - Points: Mat Berquist 22; Tries: Ludovico Nitoglia 3; Connacht - Points: Dan Parks 26; Tries: Matt Healy 2
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
Saturday, October 30, 2010 - Benetton Treviso 24 Connacht 17, Stadio di Monigo
Friday, March 4, 2011 - Connacht 31 Benetton Treviso 25, the Sportsground
Saturday, September 3, 2011 - Benetton Treviso 9 Connacht 11, Stadio di Monigo
Friday, December 2, 2011 - Connacht 13 Benetton Treviso 15, the Sportsground
Saturday, November 3, 2012 - Connacht 18 Benetton Treviso 3, the Sportsground
Friday, April 26, 2013 - Benetton Treviso 23 Connacht 23, Stadio di Monigo
- Benetton Treviso's only win so far this season in the RaboDirect PRO12 was 29-19 at home to Munster in round 3
- The Italians have lost just one of their last eight games at Stadio di Monigo in all competitions: 24-19 to the Ospreys on September 7
- The most recent Irish province to win in Treviso was Ulster (16-15) in November 2012
- Connacht's only victory in their last seven PRO12 encounters was 25-16 at home to Zebre in round 1
- The westerners are unbeaten in their last eight games against Italian opponents in all competitions
- Connacht have the slight edge in previous meetings between the two sides, gaining three wins to two with one draw
|4/10/13||Benetton Treviso||23 - 3||Connacht Rugby||3,948|
|26/4/13||Benetton Treviso||23 - 23||Connacht Rugby||4,850|
|3/11/12||Connacht Rugby||18 - 3||Benetton Treviso||4,112|