The Italian job will be on the agenda for Leinster this weekend as they travel to Stadio di Monigo to take on Magners League new boys Benetton Treviso. The sides have met twice before in the Heineken Cup, with Leinster winning both games.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Saturday, September 18
BENETTON TREVISO (9th) v LEINSTER (6th), Stadio di Monigo, 7.05pm local time/6.05pm Irish time (live TG4/Dahlia TV)
Team News: The Leinster team to face Benetton Treviso in Saturday’s Magners League tie at Stadio di Monigo has been named.
Ireland internationals Gordon D’Arcy, Rob Kearney and Eoin Reddan will start for Leinster for the first time this season, in the province’s first ever league clash with Treviso.
The trio have been named in a back-line which also includes Isa Nacewa, who scored 19 points in the 34-23 victory over the Cardiff Blues last weekend.
Young out-half Ian Madigan, who scored Leinster’s bonus point try against the Blues, retains the number 10 jersey after his late call-up for the game at the RDS.
In the pack, Cian Healy comes into the front row, after making a second half appearance last weekend, to partner John Fogarty and Mike Ross.
Recent Ireland cap Rhys Ruddock also returns to senior provincial action, forming a back row partnership with Sean O’Brien and skipper Shane Jennings.
Isaac Boss, Fergus McFadden and Heinke van der Merwe drop down to the replacements bench.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand Maori-capped Joe Maddock will make his debut for Benetton Treviso on Saturday, joining Brendan Williams and Luke McLean in a strong back three.
Maddock, who spent six seasons with Bath, will line up on the right wing. Hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini, Italy’s captain for the 2010 Six Nations, will skipper the Treviso side, in the injury-enforced absence of lock Antonio Pavanello.
Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, Lorenzo Cittadini and Valerio Bernabo come in for their first league starts, while Franco Sbaraglini is the back-up hooker on the bench, following his recovery from a long term injury.
In all, Treviso coach Franco Smith has made six changes – five in the forwards – the team that started last weekend’s 32-16 loss to the Ospreys in Swansea.
Maddock replaces Ezio Galon in the back-line, while Augusto Allori, Diego Vidal and Pedro di Santo are replaced in the front row, Enrico Pavanello makes way for Corniel Van Zyl in the second row and Fijian Manoa Vosawai returns at number 8 for Paul Derbyshire.
BENETTON TREVISO: Brendan Williams; Joe Maddock, Tommaso Benvenuti, Alberto Sgarbi, Luke McLean; Chris Burton, Tobie Botes; Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, Leonardo Ghiraldini (capt), Lorenzo Cittadini, Valerio Bernabo, Corniel Van Zyl, Robert Barbieri, Alessandro Zanni, Manoa Vosawai.
Replacements: Diego Vidal, Franco Sbaraglini, Pedro Di Santo, Enrico Pavanello, Paul Derbyshire, Ezio Galon, Fabio Semenzato, Simon Picone.
LEINSTER: Rob Kearney; Isa Nacewa, Eoin O’Malley, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, John Fogarty, Mike Ross, Nathan Hines, Ed O’Donoghue, Rhys Ruddock, Shane Jennings (capt), Sean O’Brien.
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Heinke van der Merwe, Simon Shawe, Mariano Galarza, Stephen Keogh, Isaac Boss, Fergus McFadden, David Kearney.
Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Stefano Marrama, Domenico Sironi (both Italy)
Television Match Official: Carlo Damasco (Italy)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Benetton Treviso to win: 9/4; Draw: 22/1; Leinster to win: 1/3
Pre-Match Quotes: Cian Healy (Leinster) – “It was a little bit tough (against Cardiff). I was blowing hard even though I was on for 20 minutes and it was just good to be back playing and I’m looking forward to hopefully getting some more time maybe this week or next week.
“We’ve put in a good bit of work in the pack on our togetherness as an eight. It worked out a bit better for us (last weekend) than it did in the previous games and we can see, looking forward, what we want it to be.
“Going to Italy will be a tough task but we’d be confident in ourselves and what we can do. Italian sides at home always pose a big threat, but it will be our own challenge as to how we approach the game.
“I just want to get back playing for Leinster at this stage. It feels like an age since I last played and I just want to get back in a rhythm of week in, week out at the RDS hopefully.
“There has been a good focus on us (the pack) and we’ve tried to change a few things, such as our foot placement (at scrums) and stuff like that to work to our advantage.
“We’ve been doing a lot of one-on-one work with (consultant scrum coach) Greg Feek in the front row and the back row have been working separately with each other, so it has been a case of players managing their own time and their own meetings and (forwards coach) Jono (Gibbes), in fairness, has pushed that on us.
“He told us to get our act together and do our own work in the front row, the back row and the second rows will meet up separately, and that has been really working out for us.”
Mike Ross (Leinster) – “It is satisfying to gain any measure of dominance in scrums because it’s a small contest in the context of the game that you have won.
“You do take pleasure from winning penalties at scrums and thankfully things went well for us last weekend (against Cardiff). I think that a lot of credit for that needs to go to (consultant scrum coach) Greg Feek who has come in this season and we’re hopefully going to reap the benefits of having a scrum coach of his calibre.
“It’s certainly an aspect that we have worked extremely hard on this year and against a team with as physical and confrontational front row as Treviso, we are expecting another big test in that area on Saturday.
“Overall I think we did well at set piece, but on reflection we probably feel as though we can improve a bit further this week. To be fair to Cardiff they didn’t have their first choice front row starting off, so we have to keep that in mind and not get too far ahead of ourselves in (terms of) how we did.
“You know that whenever you come up against an Italian team that you’re going to be asked questions of your set piece. I played in Italy once before with UCC and it will be a new environment, even though Treviso are an established side in the Heineken Cup.
“If they get the edge there it will be a long evening for us. If we can do well in that area, it will take the edge off them and it will be one less thing for us to worry about.
“We’ve looked at Treviso this week and it is a trip into the unknown for us. We’ll certainly have a better idea how strong they are after this weekend, but so far we have been impressed.”
Top Scorers – 2010/11 Magners League: Benetton Treviso – Points: Tobie Botes 30; Tries: Tobie Botes, Ezio Galon, Tommaso Benvenuti, Brendan Williams 1 each; Leinster – Points: Isa Nacewa 22; Tries: Dominic Ryan, Isaac Boss, Shane Jennings, Isa Nacewa, Fergus McFadden, Ian Madigan 1 each
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
– Benetton Treviso have won their last five matches at Stadio di Monigo since Munster won there in January
– Treviso have lost all ten previous matches they have played against Irish opposition
– It was back to winning ways for Leinster with their 34-23 victory over the Cardiff Blues at the RDS last weekend, however the Leinstermen have lost their last three away matches
– Leinster’s only previous defeat in Italy was against Amatori Milano in Calvisano in September 1997
– The two teams have met twice before in the Heineken Cup, during the 2004/05 campaign, with Leinster victorious on both occasions (25-9 in Treviso and 57-17 at Lansdowne Road)