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RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Leinster v Benetton Treviso

RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Leinster v Benetton Treviso

A selection of Leinster’s up-and-coming talents will be hoping to impress when the RaboDirect PRO12 leaders host Benetton Treviso at the RDS, with centre Colm O’Shea making his senior debut for the province.

RABODIRECT PRO12: Thursday, February 9

LEINSTER (1st) v BENETTON TREVISO (8th), the RDS, 7.05pm (live RTÉ Two/Rai Sport 2)

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Team News: The Leinster team to face Benetton Treviso in Thursday night’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash at the RDS has been named. Dubliner Colm O’Shea will make his debut for the province.

The 21-year-old Clontarf clubman, who has featured in four British & Irish Cup games so far this season, will form a midfield partnership with Brendan Macken in a team mixed with youth and experience.

Isaac Boss links up with Ian Madigan at half-back, with Fionn Carr forming a pacey back-three alongside Darren Hudson and Isa Nacewa.

Kevin McLaughlin leads the team after recovering from injury and is named in a back row combination with fellow Ireland international Shane Jennings as well as Leo Auva’a.

South African Heinke van der Merwe makes his 49th appearance for the province, linking up with Richardt Strauss and Nathan White in a powerful front row.

There will be the usual ‘Family Day’ activity around the ground from 5.30pm. Meanwhile, ticket sales for Thursday’s game have passed the 15,600 mark and there will be tickets on sale on the gate.

Tickets are on sale currently from the Leinster Rugby Store (Donnybrook), Spar (Donnybrook) and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

Meanwhile, Benetton Treviso boss Franco Smith has been forced to make changes to his starting line-up for the trip to Dublin.

The Italian club have travelled without a number of players who are with the national squad ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations match against England in Rome.

Gonzalo Garcia is back on the bench after having recovered from shoulder surgery. Benjamin de Jager also returns to the Treviso side following time out with a chest injury suffered against Leinster in November.

Alberto di Bernardo and Alberto Chillon, Petrarca Padova’s scrum half who already played for Treviso at the start of this season, will combine as the starting half-backs.

Hooker Enrico Ceccato and props Matteo Muccignat and Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet make up the front row.

Stand-in captain Valerio Bernabò and Francesco Minto, who returns from suspension, will start in the second row, while Gonzalo Padrò, Benjamin Vermaak and Marco Filippucci will form the back row unit.

LEINSTER: Isa Nacewa; Darren Hudson, Brendan Macken, Colm O’Shea, Fionn Carr; Ian Madigan, Isaac Boss; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Nathan White, Damian Browne, Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin (capt), Shane Jennings, Leo Auva’a.

Replacements: Tom Sexton, Jack McGrath, Jamie Hagan, Mark Flanagan, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Noel Reid, Andrew Boyle.

BENETTON TREVISO: Ludovico Nitoglia; Benjamin de Jager, Ezio Galon, Andrea Pratichetti, Brendan Williams; Alberto di Bernardo, Alberto Chillon; Matteo Muccignat, Enrico Ceccato, Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, Francesco Minto, Valerio Bernabò (capt), Gonzalo Padrò, Benjamin Vermaak, Marco Filippucci.

Replacements: Diego Vidal, Carlo Fazzari, Pedro di Santo, Marco Fuser, Enrico Pavanello, Simon Picone, Gonzalo Garcia, Tommaso Iannone.

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Mark Patton, Richard Kerr (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Alan Rogan (Ireland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Leinster to win: 1/50; Draw: 40/1; Benetton Treviso to win: 12/1

Pre-Match Quotes: Joe Schmidt (Leinster) – “Treviso have won three times away and three times at home and each time they have won away it has been with pretty much the team they are going to bring on Thursday.

“They won away at Ulster, away at Glasgow and away at Connacht so they are very much a formidable opposition.

“I think the win against Ulster was a really good effort and Ulster had a lot of their top guys available and they struggled in that match.

“And I think when they beat Glasgow it was the week after we lost to them, so as far as challenges are concerned it is a good way to restart our PRO12 campaign and I think it will be a tough test.”

Top Scorers – 2011/12 RaboDirect PRO12: Leinster – Points: Isa Nacewa 85; Tries: Ian Madigan 5; Benetton Treviso – Points: Kris Burton 111; Tries: Brendan Williams 4


Saturday, September 18, 2010 – Benetton Treviso 29 Leinster 13, Stadio di Monigo
Friday, February 25, 2011 – Leinster 30 Benetton Treviso 5, the RDS
Saturday, November 26, 2011 – Benetton Treviso 20 Leinster 30, Stadio di Monigo


– Leinster, who top the RaboDirect PRO12 standings, have reeled off ten successive victories in all competitions and are unbeaten in their last 16 matches since their 23-19 reversal at home to Glasgow Warriors on September 17

– Leinster’s only previous defeat to an Italian side in PRO12 action was a 29-13 loss in Treviso in September 2010

– Benetton Treviso have won just one of their last six encounters in all competitions, winning 37-14 at home to Aironi on New Year’s Eve

– Treviso have already won in Ireland twice this season, beating Ulster 23-12 at Ravenhill and Connacht 15-13 at the Sportsground

– The two sides have met on five previous occasions in all tournaments with the Italians successful just once