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Magners Preview: Benetton Treviso v Munster

Magners Preview: Benetton Treviso v Munster

New Zealand’s record try scorer Doug Howlett will skipper Munster as they resume their Magners League challenge with a tricky trip to Benetton Treviso on Sunday.

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Sunday, February 13

BENETTON TREVISO (9th) v MUNSTER (1st), Stadio Comunale di Monigo, 2pm local time/1pm Irish time (live TG4/Dahlia TV)

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Team News: With international commitments and ten players unavailable through injury, Munster have named a much-changed team for Sunday’s Magners League match against Benetton Treviso at Stadio Comunale di Monigo.

Further disruption to their plans came on Thursday night when Peter Stringer was called up to the Ireland squad.

That means that Duncan Williams will partner Paul Warwick at half-back for Munster and Academy player Cathal Sheridan provides back-up on the replacements bench.

Sheridan plays his club rugby with UL Bohemians and last weekend scored a crucial try in their Ulster Bank League win over Lansdowne in Dublin.

Elsewhere, there is a new look to the Munster formation with Simon Zebo on the left wing and Tom Gleeson at centre, while up front the twin totems of Ian Nagle and Dave Foley start in the second row just behind Darragh Hurley and Stephen Archer.

Doug Howlett will take on the captaincy duties, in the absence of Paul O’Connell and Denis Leamy. Howlett has just committed to Munster for next season by signing a contract extension.

Meanwhile, Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet and Tommaso Benvenuti have been released from the Italy RBS 6 Nations squad to join the replacements for Benetton Treviso’s clash with Munster.

The uncapped duo will give coach Franco Smith added options as he looks to claim the scalp of the current league leaders. When the sides met in Limerick in October, the Italians suffered a 39-13 defeat.

Missing from the Treviso line-up from that day are half-backs Kris Burton and Fabio Semenzato, who were on duty at Twickenham on Saturday along with hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini and number 8 Robert Barbieri.

Benjamin de Jager has recovered from injury to take his place on the bench for Treviso who have beaten Leinster, the Scarlets, the Dragons, Connacht and Aironi at home this season.

BENETTON TREVISO: Brendan Williams; Ludovico Nitoglia, Ezio Galon, Andrea Pratichetti, Michele Sepe; Willem de Waal, Tobie Botes; Michele Rizzo, Franco Sbaraglini, Lorenzo Cittadini, Antonio Pavanello (capt), Corniel van Zyl, Benjamin Vermaak, Gonzalo Padro, Marco Filippucci.

Replacements: Enrico Ceccato, Matteo Muccignat, Pedro di Santo, Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, Enrico Pavanello, Tommaso Benvenuti, Benjamin de Jager, Andrea Marcato.

MUNSTER: Scott Deasy; Doug Howlett, Tom Gleeson, Lifeimi Mafi, Simon Zebo; Paul Warwick, Duncan Williams; Darragh Hurley, Damien Varley, Stephen Archer, Ian Nagle, Dave Foley, Billy Holland, Tommy O’Donnell, James Coughlan.

Replacements: Mike Sherry, Wian du Preez, Peter Borlase, Mick O’Driscoll, Donnacha Ryan, Cathal Sheridan, Sam Tuitupou, Denis Hurley.

Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Stefano Penne, Filippo Bertelli (both Italy)
Television Match Official: Giulio de Santis (Italy)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Benetton Treviso to win: 10/11; Draw: 18/1; Munster to win: 10/11

Pre-Match Quotes: Doug Howlett (Munster) – “I’m very happy that it (the contract extension) has been sorted out. My wife and I have been very happy here and are looking forward to continuing on for a while longer.

“I think it’s a very exciting line-up. There are a load of new boys there who have huge potential and now it’s their chance to shine, to put their hands up.

“I’m certainly looking forward to the game. It’s been a while now since we’ve played, so it’ll be good to get out there again and with the changes we have with the international boys away, it makes it that bit more exciting, a bit more challenging and that’s a good thing.

“Treviso will be as tough a side as we’ve faced. They’ve a really good record at home, won I think five of their games there, so we won’t get anything easy.

“But we’re going there with a good squad, a good mix and I’d be confident we’ll give a good account of ourselves.”

Top Scorers – 2010/11 Magners League: Benetton Treviso – Points: Tobie Botes 104; Tries: Brendan Williams, Ludovico Nitoglia, Kris Burton 2 each; Munster – Points: Ronan O’Gara 107; Tries: Niall Ronan 3


Friday, October 22, 2010 – Munster 39 Benetton Treviso 13, Thomond Park


– Benetton Treviso have lost their last three matches since their Christmas double over rivals Aironi

– Treviso have won five home games in the Magners League this season – against the Scarlets, Leinster, the Dragons, Connacht and Aironi

– Munster have won their last four games in the Magners League since their 20-6 defeat at the Newport Gwent Dragons on November 26

– The Munstermen have a perfect played 11, won 11 record in previous encounters with Italian opponents