Leinster will have revenge on their minds when Benetton Treviso come calling on Friday night. Joe Schmidt’s men, who lost 29-13 to the Italians earlier in the season, will be fired up for the second clash at the RDS.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, February 25
LEINSTER (5th) v BENETTON TREVISO (8th), the RDS, 7.10pm (live RTE Two)
Team News: The Leinster team to face Benetton Treviso in Friday night’s Magners League clash at the RDS has been named.
Isa Nacewa will captain Leinster for the first time and is included in a back-line which welcomes back David Kearney for the visit of the Italian side.
In the pack, Stan Wright is named in the province’s starting line-up for the first time this season after making his comeback as a second half replacement last weekend in Cardiff.
Wright comes into the front row alongside Richardt Strauss and Heinke van der Merwe, with Stephen Keogh named in the back row alongside Kevin McLaughlin and Dominic Ryan.
Rhys Ruddock is one of seven replacements who have come through the Leinster Academy in recent years, with a further eight graduates in the starting line-up.
Meanwhile, Benetton Treviso boss Franco Smith has made several changes to the team that lost 34-18 to the Ospreys last weekend. Smith remains without a number of players due to Six Nations commitments with Italy.
Joe Maddock replaces Brendan Williams at full-back and Benjamin de Jager starts on the left wing. Tobie Botes is unavailable, so Ludovico Nitoglia steps in at scrum half.
There is a completely new front row with Michele Rizzo and hooker Enrico Ceccato both starting. Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet is the tight head prop, taking over from Lorenzo Cittadini.
Amongst the replacements, Michele Sutto returns from Petrarca Padova. Simon Picone is also back available after his recovery from a shoulder injury.
LEINSTER: Isa Nacewa (capt); Andrew Conway, Eoin O’Malley, Eamonn Sheridan, David Kearney; Ian McKinley, Isaac Boss; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Stan Wright, Ed O’Donoghue, Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin, Dominic Ryan, Stephen Keogh.
Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Jack McGrath, Clint Newland, Rhys Ruddock, Paul Ryan, Paul O’Donohoe, Ian Madigan, Niall Morris.
BENETTON TREVISO: Joe Maddock; Michele Sepe, Ezio Galon, Andrew Vilk, Benjamin de Jager; Willem de Waal, Ludovico Nitoglia; Michele Rizzo, Enrico Ceccato, Ignacio Fernande-Rouyet, Antonio Pavanello (capt), Corniel van Zyl, Benjamin Vermaak, Gonzalo Padro, Marco Filippucci.
Replacements: Franco Sbaraglini, Matteo Muccignat, Pedro di Santo, Enrico Pavanello, Michele Sutto, Andrea Pratichetti, Andrea Marcato, Simon Picone.
Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant Referees: David Wilkinson, Richard Kerr (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Tony Redmond (Ireland)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Leinster to win: 1/9; Draw: 25/1; Benetton Treviso to win: 5/1
Pre-Match Quotes: Joe Schmidt (Leinster) – “We had a very youthful look to our back-line (against Cardiff). We defended very well. Cardiff kept the ball for long, long periods. I think 175 tackles is the most we’ve had to make for a long time.
“I suppose the flip side of that is that we didn’t hold onto the ball long enough, probably made too many errors and allowed them to disrupt our rucks.
“Stan’s been a long time getting back. I wouldn’t say he’s the same Stan you saw last year yet. But hopefully in three or four weeks’ time, he’ll be running with the full energy that he normally has.
“It’ll be a week by week thing with Stan, just plotting his progress and adding his game minutes.
“Treviso have been a bit of a banana skin for a number of teams. They’re mid-table and for anyone to say that they don’t merit that wouldn’t have looked too hard at their games.
“They have got a very good 9-10 combination in (Tobie) Botes and (Willem) de Waal. They certainly kept the pressure on you. They’ve very big, uncomprimising men up front, with guys to control the game really well.
“And then (Brendan) Williams is a constant threat at full-back, he’s very fast, has got a good kicking game and varies where he enters the back-line. Across the board, they have some really good threats.”
Top Scorers – 2010/11 Magners League: Leinster – Points: Isa Nacewa 127; Tries: Isa Nacewa, Shane Horgan 4 each; Benetton Treviso – Points: Tobie Botes 122; Tries: Tobie Botes 3
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
Saturday, September 18, 2010 – Benetton Treviso 29 Leinster 13, Stadio di Monigo
– Leinster’s 11-3 reversal at the hands of the Cardiff Blues last Saturday ended their seven-match winning run in all
– The Leinstermen have not lost a home regular season match in the Magners League since Munster
visited the RDS in September 2008
– Benetton Treviso have won three of their last five matches in the Magners League, although they have not tasted victory outside of Italy since they beat the Dragons at Rodney Parade in the Heineken Cup in December 2007
– Treviso won 29-13 when the two teams met at Stadio di Monigo in round 3 earlier this season