Christmas time is derby time for the RaboDirect PRO12. The Italian clash between Aironi and Treviso will open (Friday 7pm kick off – Italian time) the eleventh round.
Rowland Phillips and his staff make five changes from the team that faced Ulster last week. The back line will be the same one who scored three times against the Irish side in Monza, with Andrea Masi making his first start of the season at fullback. Sinoti Sinoti and Giovanbattista Venditti are the wingers, while Gabriel Pizarro and Roberto Quartaroli pair up in the centres.
The halves are also Italian with Luciano Orquera alongside Tito Tebaldi.
No changes in the back row and in the second row, while there is a new pair of props, with Fabio Staibano at tight head and Alberto De Marchi at the loose head position, with Fabio Ongaro hooking.
There is a first call for Italian International Mauro Bergamasco, who will make his debut for Aironi from the replacements against his former team Treviso.
There’s a long list of injured players that Aironi couldn’t consider for this game.
George Biagi suffered a knee injury last week and could be out for a couple of months, while Tyson Keats will miss the derby due to a head injury. With long-term injuries to Nick Williams, Kaine Robertson as well as Paolo Buso recovering from surgeries, there’s some good news in that Aironi could call upon Joshua Furno for next week clash in Treviso, and Frans Viljoen.
Aironi will use special shirts for this game with AIBWS Onlus logo on that. The special shirts will be autographed by the players and then sold at the price of 120 euros. All the money raised will go to “Progetto Aironi”, where AIBWS Onlus looks to increase the research about Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome and help the families of young babies hurt by the disease.
AIRONI: 15 Andrea Masi; 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti; 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tito Tebaldi; 8 Josh Sole, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Nicola Cattina; 5 Marco Bortolami (cap), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys; 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Roberto Santamaria, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Filippo Ferrarini, 20 Mauro Bergamasco, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Naas Olivier, 23 Alberto Benettin.
Coach: Rowland Phillips.
Referee: Carlo Damasco