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Magners Preview: Benetton Treviso v Ulster

Magners Preview: Benetton Treviso v Ulster

A memorable second half display helped Ulster overcome the Cardiff Blues last weekend and despite a short turnaround, Brian McLaughlin’s men are sure to be firing on all cylinders as they try to become the first Irish side this season to win at Stadio di Monigo, Benetton Treviso’s home fortress.

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, November 26

BENETTON TREVISO (8th) v ULSTER (3rd), Stadio di Monigo, 7.05pm/6.05pm Irish time (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland/Dahlia TV)

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Team News: Number 8 Chris Henry has been handed the captaincy duties for Ulster’s Magners League encounter with Benetton Treviso.

Ulster’s selected starting line-up also includes Paddy Wallace who has been released from the Ireland squad. Wallace will partner the fit-again Darren Cave at centre, with Cave having recovered from a hamstring injury.

The pair take over from Nevin Spence and Ian Whitten who drop to the replacements bench, while teenager Craig Gilroy, the province’s two-try hero in Cardiff, has retained his place on the right wing.

Up front, Bryan Young replaces Paddy McAllister in the front row and Tim Barker comes in for neck injury victim Johann Muller in the second row.

Stand-in captain Henry moves from openside flanker to number 8 to cover for the injured Robbie Diack, with Willie Faloon donning the number 7 jersey.

Neil McComb and Phoenix Ulster Academy player Ali Birch have been added to the bench, with Dungannon flanker Birch a newcomer to Magners League rugby.

Previewing the match, head coach Brian McLaughlin said: “We’re under no illusions. Treviso have only lost twice at home this season – Leicester beat them in Europe and Cardiff beat them in the Magners (League), so they’re no slouches.

“It’s going to be tough, no doubt about that. They’re exceptionally good at home and they’re a very proud team at home.

“We know exactly what we’re going into, so we’ve got to go there with all guns blazing.”

Meanwhile, Benetton Treviso return to competitive action after the November international window and their recent league defeat to Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

All eyes will be on Treviso’s new signing, out-half Willem De Waal. The South African played for Western Province in the recent Currie Cup final and will don the number 10 jersey against Ulster, with Chris Burton moving to full-back.

Centre Andrea Pratichetti, who celebrates his 22nd birthday today, and hooker Enrico Ceccato appear in Treviso’s starting line-up for the first time in the league.

Another change from the Edinburgh game sees regular lock Valerio Bernabo slot in at openside flanker. Starting on the replacements bench, Italian international Michele Sepe is poised to make his full debut for the club.

BENETTON TREVISO: Chris Burton; Ludovico Nitoglia, Andrea Pratichetti, Gonzalo Garcia, Joe Maddock; Willem De Waal, Tobie Botes; Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, Enrico Ceccato, Pedro Di Santo, Antonio Pavanello (capt), Corniel Can Zyl, Francesco Minto, Valerio Bernabo, Marco Filippucci.

Replacements: Franco Sbaraglini, Matteo Muccignat, Augusto Allori, Enrico Pavanello, Gonzalo Padrò, Benjamin De Jager, Fabio Semenzato, Michele Sepe.

ULSTER: Adam D’Arcy; Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Paddy Wallace, Simon Danielli; Ian Humphreys, Paul Marshall; Bryan Young, Nigel Brady, BJ Botha, Tim Barker, Dan Tuohy, Pedrie Wannenburg, Willie Faloon, Chris Henry (capt).

Replacements: Andi Kyriacou, Paddy McAllister, Jerry Cronin, Neil McComb, Ali Birch, Ian Porter, Ian Whitten, Nevin Spence.

Referee: Graham Knox (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Stefano Penne, Angelo Marchesin (both Italy)
Television Match Official: Mauro Dordolo (Italy)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Benetton Treviso to win: 11/8; Draw: 18/1; Ulster to win: 4/7

Pre-Match Quotes: Dan Tuohy (Ulster) – “It was nice to get back out (against Cardiff) on Sunday. It was a big game for me after what has been a pretty stop-start season so far.

“I was asked to step up when Johann (Muller) went off after 30-odd minutes and it was pleasing just to have been able to do that. But it was a great performance by everyone really.

“The boys really got it together in the second half. I think it was all just down to pure hard work. We’ve probably been lacking a bit of composure in the green zone and not turning possession into points as a result.

“Maybe Sunday wasn’t all down to putting that right given that there were a few breakaway scores due to individual brilliance, but I think in general that we just managed to put pressure on and on this occasion were able to finish.

“Treviso are new this season to the league but their home record is fantastic. They’ve only lost one game and that was to Cardiff.

“They have big players at 8, 10 and 15 who control things so we’re expecting a very direct performance from them and that’s something we’ll have to meet head on.

“We know they’ll be no pushover. They’re the more established of the two Italian sides and their results prove they can play, especially at home.”

Bryan Young (Ulster) – “We’re going in having just won a big match in Cardiff, which is great, but this is another massive challenge for us. What we need now is another huge performance in Treviso so that we continue to build.

“We finished that (Cardiff) game so well that everybody is just looking forward to getting back on the pitch against Treviso and taking that energy with them.

“Treviso’s lineout and maul are very good. They’re very abrasive, physical guys and it’s a very intimidating place to go. What we’ve got to do is negate those threats and take the control we know we have in our team and impose that away from home and be clinical.

“There’s just such a belief now, the boys are really working hard for each other. Maybe we still need to work a wee bit smarter, but for me the thing that really counted (last week) was the amount of control we showed on the pitch against Cardiff and, as a result of that, the fact that we took our chances. We need more of that against Treviso.”

Top Scorers – 2010/11 Magners League: Benetton Treviso – Points: Tobie Botes 75; Tries: Brendan Williams, Chris Burton, Ludovico Nitoglia 2 each; Ulster – Points: Niall O’Connor 51; Tries: Darren Cave, Ian Whitten, Craig Gilroy 2 each




– Benetton Treviso have won four of their five home games so far in the Magners League. The Italians have beaten both of the Irish opponents (Leinster and Connacht) they have hosted at Stadio di Monigo this season

– Ulster ended a run of back-to-back defeats in the Magners League with their 37-15 victory at the Cardiff Blues last Sunday, which was the Ulstermen’s biggest win outside of Ireland since April 2007

– Ulster have won all six previous games they have played against Italian opponents

– The teams have clashed on four previous occasions in the Heineken Cup with Ulster winning on each occasion