The RaboDirect PRO12 is back after two weeks and Aironi fly to Cardiff to open round 9 tomorrow evening to face the Blues. The Welsh team enjoys a 4-game winning streak in the RaboDirect PRO12 and the Heineken Cup. (kick-off at 7,30 pm, 8,30 pm in Italy).
They started the streak against Aironi on the 8th October when the two teams met for the first time this season. At the end of a spectacular match with four tries apiece, Ceri Sweeney’s 17 points made the difference in a 26-37 win for Cardiff.
In that game Aironi became the first Italian team to collect the attacking bonus point in the RaboDirect PRO12. Aironi have not scored a try in the four games played since then against Munster, Glasgow, Leicester Tigers and Clermont-Auvergne.
In an attempt to regain their momentum, Aironi travel to Cardiff with several changes, some of them forced by last-minute injuries. Matias Aguero is out with Alberto De Marchi starting in his place. Salvatore Perugini has pulled out of the Barbarians squad in Twickenham against Australia on Saturday and he will be on the bench.
The only Aironi player to wear the black-and-white shirt in London will be Marco Bortolami, who leaves Quintin Geldenhuys skippering the team in the Cardiff game. George Biagi will play alongside the South African born Italian international in the second row. The back row is completely new with Nicola Cattina returning after a week off, Filippo Ferrarini starting for the first time this season and Josh Sole switching to 8.
In the halves, Tito Tebaldi is back and so Naas Olivier can wear the number 10 shirt again (Italian Federation rules state that, Italian RaboDirect PRO12 teams can’t play with two foreign players at 9, 10 and 15 positions simultaneously). Italian International Giulio Toniolatti starts on the wing while Sinoti Sinoti moves to outside centre alongside Gilberto Pavan. The back line is completed by youngsters Giovanbattista Venditti on the wing and Ruggero Trevisan at fullback, who are the two most widely used players by Aironi this season with 667 and 763 minutes played respectively.
15 Ruggero Trevisan; 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Sinoti Sinoti, 12 Gilberto Pavan, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti; 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi; 8 Josh Sole, 7 Filippo Ferrarini, 6 Nicola Cattina; 5 George Biagi, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys (cap); 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Tommaso D’Apice, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Lorenzo Romano, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 Frans Viljoen, 21 Tyson Keats, 22 Roberto Quartaroli, 23 Matteo Pratichetti.
Coach: Rowland Phillips.