Friday, December 01, 2017

Preview : Treviso v Leinster

LEINSTER : 15. Jordan Larmour 14. Dave Kearney 13. Garry Ringrose 12. Noel Reid 11. James Lowe 10. Ross Byrne 9. Luke McGrath CAPTAIN
1. Jack McGrath 2. James Tracy 3. Andrew Porter 4. Ian Nagle 5. Scott Fardy 6. Jordi Murphy 7. Josh van der Flier 8. Jack Conan
16. Seán Cronin 17. Ed Byrne 18. Vakh Abdaladze 19. Mick Kearney 20. Max Deegan 21. Nick McCarthy 22. Fergus McFadden 23. Rory O’Loughlin

Maybe it's a bit too early to stop looking over our shoulders in Conference B...the Southern Kings and Dragons are done but Richard Cockerill's Embra haven't quite lost touch with the top three just yet and as for Treviso, well, sorry if this seems patronising but three wins is a good start to the season for them and what's more they came within a whisker of making it four in Belfast last Friday.

Still though, if we are to close the seven point gap between ourselves and the Scarlets at the top, we'll need to win matches like Saturday's at the Stadio di Monigo.  The reigning champions make that tricky journey to play the Cheetahs [who look like decent playoff contenders themselves] so at very least we don't want to come out of this weekend having lost even more ground on them.

And what a matchday lineup we have for this battle with Benetton.  James Lowe debuts.  Garry Ringrose returns.  Jordan Larmour has another chance to show us he can be a 'bolter' in multiple senses of the word.  Luke McGrath skippers.  The Great Leinster Back Row One-Arm Bandit this week landed on three J's in Jordi, Josh and Jack.

Hard not to get excited about that starting XV, with the only anxiety coming from the possibility of injuries ahead of the massive double header with Exeter [the Aviva ticket for which arrived at Harpin Manor today].  And the bench has plenty of positivity as well with Sean Cronin, Mick Kearney and Fergus McFadden the senior players among a host of promising talent.

After their performance at Ulster I expect the Italians to be fired up for this one...it hasn't always been an easy trip for us in the past.  But if Ross Byrne can build on his man of the match display from last Friday then he certainly has the players around him to bring home the prosciutto.

The bookies have us as fourteen point winners.  Despite the fact I'm inclined to agree my superstitious nature is going to make my prediction a bit behind that, around 9-11pts.   In a match like this one, if we can secure the five match points I'm not too concerned about what happened on the other side of the scoreboard and if that happens and my prediction comes off then it's bound to be an entertaining afternoon.  JLP



Treviso : 15 Marty Banks, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Alberto Sgarbi (C), 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Giorgio Bronzini,
8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Nasi Manu, 6 Whetu Douglas, 5 Irné Herbst, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Tomas Baravalle, 1 Cherif Traore.
16 Hame Faiva, 17 Nicola Quaglio, 18 Alberto De Marchi, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Marco Lazzaroni, 21 Sebastian Negri, 22 Edoardo Gori, 23 Luca Morisi.

Guinness Pro14 2017/18 - Round 10
Saturday, December 2, 2017
KO 3:35pm (Irish time)
Stadio di Monigo

Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU)
AR1: Andrea Piardi (FIR)
AR2: Manuel Bottino (FIR)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU).
Eurosport Italia 2: 4.25pm Italy
TG4: 3.25pm (UK/IRE)

Also this weekend

Friday

Southern Kings v Edinburgh
Glasgow v Cardiff Blues
Dragons v Ulster

Saturday

Zebre v Connacht
Munster v Ospreys
Cheetahs v Scarlets
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