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RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Leinster v Aironi Rugby

RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Leinster v Aironi Rugby

Leinster are back on home soil after edging their way past the Scarlets in Llanelli last time out. Joe Schmidt will give full debuts to Noel Reid and Steven Sykes as the province look to pick up their third win on the trot over Italian side Aironi.

RABODIRECT PRO12: Saturday, October 1

LEINSTER (6th) v AIRONI RUGBY (12th), the RDS, 6pm

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Team News: The Leinster team to face Aironi in Saturday evening’s RaboDirect PRO12 match at the RDS has been named.

Steven Sykes will make his competitive debut for Leinster. He forms a second row partnership with Ireland international Devin Toner in a pack which sees Ciaran Ruddock, who is set for his second provincial appearance, join his brother Rhys in the back row.

Jamie Hagan will combine with Richardt Strauss and Heinke van der Merwe in the front row, while Academy out-half Noel Reid comes in for his senior debut.

The 21-year-old Reid partners Cillian Willis at half-back in the only change to the back-line which started last weekend’s 15-10 victory away to the Scarlets.

This means that Luke Fitzgerald continues his centre partnership with Eoin O’Malley, while Isa Nacewa, who has kicked 45 points so far this season, wears the number 15 jersey once again.

Over 14,700 tickets have now been sold for Saturday’s game which will include the usual ‘Family Day’ activities.

Tickets will also be sold around the ground on the day and are still available online from www.leinsterrugby.ie, Spar (Donnybrook), the Leinster Rugby Store and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

Meanwhile, one week after collecting their first league victory of the season against Edinburgh, Aironi travel to Dublin to face Leinster with several changes to the starting line-up.

Head coach Rowland Phillips have a number of injuries among the squad and have opted to rest some players who have played in the first four RaboDirect PRO12 games.

One of them is Naas Olivier, who has played every minute so far this season. The South African out-half, who was man-of-the-match against Edinburgh, starts from the bench this time.

Tito Tebaldi and Tyson Keats pair up as a new half-back combination. Tebaldi will play at number 10, while Keats stays at scrum half after coming off the bench in Newport two weeks ago.

There are three changes in the forwards. Two of them are in the back row where Josh Sole returns at blindside flanker and Simone Favaro goes to the openside. Finally, Alberto de Marchi replaces prop Matias Aguero.

LEINSTER: Isa Nacewa; Fionn Carr, Eoin O’Malley, Luke Fitzgerald, David Kearney; Noel Reid, Cillian Willis; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Jamie Hagan, Steven Sykes, Devin Toner, Ciaran Ruddock, Rhys Ruddock (capt), Leo Auva’a.

Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Jack McGrath, Jack O’Connell, Damian Browne, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Ian Madigan, Brendan Macken.

AIRONI RUGBY: Ruggero Trevisan; Sinoti Sinoti, Roberto Quartaroli, Gabriel Pizarro, Giovanbattista Venditti; Tito Tebaldi, Tyson Keats; Alberto de Marchi, Roberto Santamaria (capt), Fabio Staibano, Joshua Furno, George Biagi, Josh Sole, Simone Favaro, Nick Williams.

Replacements: Davide Giazzon, Matias Aguero, Luca Redolfini, Filippo Cazzola, Filippo Ferrarini, Naas Olivier, Giorgio Bronzini, Riccardo Pavan.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Leo Colgan, Mark Hermin (both Ireland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Leinster to win: 1/25; Draw: 30/1; Aironi Rugby to win: 9/1

Pre-Match Quotes: Jordi Murphy (Leinster) – “You’ve got to get the jersey and give it back the way you found it. Just because you get picked at a young age, it doesn’t mean you can think you are running the show.

“There are guys who have worn that jersey with great pride and done a good job in it. You’ve got to try to do the same, if not better, every time.

“You can’t put in a bad performance when you play for Leinster. I think that is what he (Joe Schmidt) meant when he talked about responsibility.

“The intensity is a lot different to anything I have ever played before. It is a real step up. You’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game the whole time.”

Fabio Staibano (Aironi Rugby) – “We’ve been working hard on our defence because even against Edinburgh last Saturday it wasn’t perfect. If we believe in ourselves we can have a really good game (against Leinster). And win, why not?

“Since the first game against the Scarlets we have found our form. It’s now been three games in-a-row where we have played well and have been giving good possession to the backs.

“We need to continue like that, the pack is there. And when our internationals return we will be even more competitive.

“For this Saturday I’m confident. Last year, also without our internationals, we showed we could win. I think this season the squad is more tight-knit and more complete compared to last year.”

Top Scorers – 2011/12 RaboDirect PRO12: Leinster – Points: Isa Nacewa 30; Tries: Ian Madigan 2; Aironi Rugby – Points: Naas Olivier 47; Tries: Nick Williams 2


Thursday, February 10, 2011 – Leinster 21 Aironi Rugby 16, the RDS
Saturday, April 23, 2011 – Aironi Rugby 8 Leinster 20, Stadio Zaffanella


– Leinster’s 14-match home winning run at the RDS was ended in round 3 when Glasgow Warriors were the visitors

– The Leinstermen’s record against Italian teams last season was played 4, won 3 and lost 1

– Aironi Rugby gained their first win in this season’s RaboDirect PRO12 with a 25-19 triumph at home to Edinburgh last Saturday

– The Italian side are yet to win on the road since they were formed in the summer of 2010. Leinster won both of their encounters with Aironi last season