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RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Leinster v Benetton Treviso

RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Leinster v Benetton Treviso

Leinster needed a late drop goal from Jonathan Sexton to edge them to victory in Treviso in September. They will be hoping for an improved performance and a more comfortable margin of victory when the Italians visit the RDS on Saturday.

RABODIRECT PRO12: Saturday, February 16

LEINSTER (3rd) v BENETTON TREVISO (8th), the RDS, 5pm

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

Rhys Ruddock will captain the home side in his 50th provincial outing, linking up with fellow Academy graduates Dominic Ryan and Jordi Murphy in the back row.

Murphy continues at number 8 after scoring a try in last weekend’s 26-11 victory over the Cardiff Blues, which was his 18th appearance for the province.

Leinster can also welcome back several players who were involved with the Ireland squad in recent weeks.

Amongst them is hooker Sean Cronin while fellow Limerick man Eoin Reddan will make his 78th Leinster appearance in a half-back partnership with Ian Madigan.

Normally, Cian Healy would not have played this weekend but, given the circumstances, a run-out would have been welcomed.

However it has been stated that he is suspended and is therefore unavailable for selection and unable to play against the Italian side.

Fergus McFadden joins full-back Luke Fitzgerald and David Kearney in an exciting back-three, with Eoin O’Malley, fresh from making his seasonal bow in the league last Friday, named in the centre alongside Andrew Goodman.

In total 12 of the starting fifteen are graduates of the Leinster Academy, demonstrating the province’s commitment to developing local talent.

It is ‘Ladies Night’ at the RDS on Saturday and all lady supporters at this game will be treated with goodies such as flowers, cupcakes and more while also having the chance to win some great prizes.

Come along and enjoy the live music around the grounds and keep an eye out for our goodie bag locations to pick up yours with some great treats inside.

Look out for Cupid who will be roaming the grounds looking to escort some lucky ladies to their seats. While enjoying the match, the fabulous Blue Crew will be surprising some ladies in the crowd with spot prizes so keep watch. Gates open at 3.30pm.

Ticket sales for Saturday’s game have passed the 16,000 mark and are on sale online here. They are also available from the Leinster Rugby Store (Donnybrook), Spar (Donnybrook) and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

Meanwhile, Benetton Treviso boss Franco Smith has made a number of changes to the team that started the 23-14 loss to the Newport Gwent Dragons in the previous round.

Centre Gideon la Grange and scrum half Fabio Semenzato are the only players retained in the back-line. Italian-Australian James Ambrosini, who will be making his second appearance at out-half, Giulio Toniolatti and Andrea Pratichetti will fill key roles.

Up front, Michele Rizzo has been added to the front row and big Fijian Manoa Vosawai replaces leading try scorer Robert Barbieri at number 8.

The only permit player lining out will be Petrarca Padova’s Filippo Giusti, who continues on the replacements bench despite his try-scoring contribution in Newport.

LEINSTER: Luke Fitzgerald; David Kearney, Eoin O’Malley, Andrew Goodman, Fergus McFadden; Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Jamie Hagan, Ben Marshall, Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock (capt), Dominic Ryan, Jordi Murphy.

Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Jack O’Connell, Michael Bent, Leo Cullen, Shane Jennings, Isaac Boss, Noel Reid, Fionn Carr.

BENETTON TREVISO: Giulio Toniolatti; Ludovico Nitoglia, Andrea Pratichetti, Gideon la Grange, Tommaso Iannone; James Ambrosini, Fabio Semenzato; Michele Rizzo, Giovanni Maistri, Jacobus Roux, Marco Fuser, Corniel van Zyl (capt), Dean Budd, Valerio Bernabò, Manoa Vosawai.

Replacements: Franco Sbaraglini, Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, Pedro di Santo, Enrico Ceccato, Filippo Giusti, Christian Loamanu, Luca Morisi, Brendan Williams.

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: David Wilkinson, Barrie O’Connell (both Ireland)

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

Pre-Match Quotes: Jordi Murphy (Leinster) – “There are only a few points between second and sixth at the moment so it is all to play for. You just have to keep things ticking over and make sure you don’t slip up or others will take advantage.

“It was good to get 80 minutes under my belt (against Cardiff), but it was a good team performance. Our scrum performed quite well in sticky conditions underfoot and the work-rate was good.

“It is a hungry environment here which is great. It pushes everyone and makes you a better player. You have to put your hand up every week and nothing is written in stone here, you won’t walk into the changing room and get handed the jersey.

“We went out with a very attacking approach last weekend even in the conditions, but we will have the same philosophy this Saturday. We look to attack, play hard and defend hard.”

Guy Easterby (Leinster) – “We are happy with the win at Cardiff with a young and inexperienced side, but we’ll have to make some improvements, especially on the second half, if we want to continue our winning ways against a tough Treivso side.

“There was a good mix of older guys with Leo Cullen as captain and he was excellent alongside the inexperienced guys and that was beneficial.

“Treviso are a really strong physical side and their performances have improved dramatically since they’ve been in the RaboDirect PRO12.

“We’re expecting a really tough physical game and they are a well coached game, I think Franco Smith has done a fantastic job there.”

Top Scorers – 2012/13 RaboDirect PRO12: Leinster – Points: Ian Madigan 107; Tries: Ian Madigan 5; Benetton Treviso – Points: Alberto di Bernardo 52; Tries: Robert Barbieri 6


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
Thursday, February 9, 2012 – Leinster 42 Benetton Treviso 8, the RDS
Saturday, September 15, 2012 – Benetton Treviso 18 Leinster 19, Stadio di Monigo


– Leinster have won their last five matches in all competitions since being defeated 27-19 at Ulster in the RaboDirect PRO12 on December 21

– The Leinstermen have suffered just one reversal at the RDS in the regular season of the PRO12 since September 2011: 23-22 to the Ospreys on March 23 last

– Benetton Treviso play their third successive away game in the PRO12, having lost the other two: 41-7 in Glasgow and 23-14 at the Newport Gwent Dragons

– Treviso have not won in Ireland since a visit to Connacht in December 2011. Their only previous victory over Leinster was a 29-13 triumph at Stadio di Monigo in September 2010