Five changes are made to the Ulster side that defeated Toyota Cheetahs on the opening day of the season ahead of their fixture against Benetton Treviso tomorrow night. (KO 18:05)
Irish internationals Jacob Stockdale, Kieran Treadwell and Luke Marshall are welcomed back into the squad with Stockdale and Treadwell in the starting team and Marshall named among the replacements.
Callum Black comes in for Kyle McCall while Matthew Rea replaces Marcell Coetzee to win his first start for Ulster. Black is joined by Rob Herring and Wiehahn Herbst in the front row while Jean Deysel is the only person to keep his spot in the back row. Deysel put in a masterful performance against Cheetahs and switches to No8 in the absence of Coetzee. FRU Player of the Season Sean Reidy swaps with Chris Henry and Treadwell joins Robbie Diack who retains his position at lock.
Louis Ludik shifts to fullback to accommodate the inclusion of Jacob Stockdale ahead of Charles Piutau in the only change to the Ulster back line. John Cooney and Christian Lealiifano renew their half back partnership and will be hoping to supply the quick ball which was so effective last time out. Stuart McCloskey is joined by Tommy Bowe in the centre while Andrew Trimble completes the back three.
Despite the minor adjustments Ulster will be expecting to leave Treviso with maximum points to back up a good performance against the Cheetahs last week. Treviso were brushed aside with relative ease by Munster last week, shipping five tries in the first half and another in the second to end up on the wrong end of a 34-3 defeat. The Italian side have a list of 19 absentees for the game tomorrow.
Rain is forecast an hour before kick off in Italy tomorrow but this won’t prohibit Ulster from playing an expansive game which should be enough to secure the five match points. Ulster’s 32-13 victory in January 2016 is the only time they have secured a try scoring bonus point at the Stadio Monigo in the league campaign since the inclusion of the Italians into the Celtic League.
The FRU predicts: While a four-try victory is a rarity for Ulster in the Stadio Monigo, I expect Ulster to defeat Treviso comfortably and continue their maximum point start.
|Jayden Hayward||15||Louis Ludik|
|Angelo Esposito||14||Andrew Trimble (c)|
|Alberto Sgarbi (c)||13||Tommy Bowe|
|Tommaso Allan||12||Stuart McCloskey|
|Tommaso Benvenuti||11||Jacob Stockdale|
|Ian McKinley||10||Christian Lealiifano|
|Tito Tebaldi||9||John Cooney|
|Federico Zani||1||Callum Black|
|Luca Bigi||2||Rob Herring|
|Simone Ferrari||3||Wiehahn Herbst|
|Marco Lazzaroni||4||Robbie Diack|
|Federico Ruzza||5||Kieran Treadwell|
|Francesco Minto||6||Matthew Rea|
|Sebastian Negri||7||Sean Reidy|
|Whetu Douglas||8||Jean Deysel|
|Engjel Mkelara||16||John Andrew|
|Cherif Traore||17||Andrew Warwick|
|Tiziano Pasquali||18||Rodney Ah You|
|Marco Barbini||19||Peter Browne|
|Abraham Steyn||20||Chris Henry|
|Giorgio Bronzini||21||David Shanahan|
|Edooardo Gori||22||Peter Nelson|
|Marco Zanon||23||Luke Marshall|