Centre Matteo Pratichetti and flanker Simone Favaro are in the starting XV for Aironi as the Italian franchise prepare to face the Dragons at Rodney Parade Saturday at 6,30 pm (7,30 in Italy) in the Magners League.
The two young Italian internationals will be making their first start of the season after recovering from summer surgeries.
In the backs, Laharrague rejoins the team as fullback, Pratichetti will play alongside Rodd Penney at centre while Toniolatti and Venditti will be on the wings. Canavosio and Mercier are confirmed as scrum-half and fly half.
Also the front row will retain Perugini and Redolfini props and Ongaro hooking. Del Fava replaces Geldenhuys in the second row, while Favaro and Cattina flank No.8 Nick Williams.
The great news for Aironi is in on bench, where prop Fabio Staibano returns after recovering from a long term injury that resulted in a couple of operations and a long period off the pitch last season when he played for French side Castres.
Meanwhile Aironi and Viadana Rugby are apprehensive for the news about Casper Steyn, who is fighting for his life after a car accident in Centurion, near Pretoria. Steyn previously played for Viadana and is the Italian side’s top scorer in the Heineken Cup. CEO Franco Tonni says “In my name and in name of Rugby Viadana and Aironi Rugby we are close to Delene and to their children in this hard and dramatic moment for our friend Casper”.
15 Julien Laharrague; 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Rodd Penney, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti; 10 Ludovic Mercier, 9 Pablo Canavosio; 8 Nick Williams, 7 Nicola Cattina, 6 Simone Favaro; 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Carlo Del Fava; 3 Luca Redolfini, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Roberto Santamaria, 17 Fabio Staibano, 18 Alberto De Marchi, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Jaco Erasmus, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Gilberto Pavan, 23 Riccardo Bocchino.