More than three months after injuring a shoulder, Nick Williams is ready to come back in the starting lineup named by Aironi to face Newport-Gwent Dragons on Sunday afternoon in Viadana (kick-off at 4,30 in Italy, 3,30 GMT) in round 16 of the RaboDirect PRO12.
The New Zealander number 8 played his last match on November 5th when Glasgow won in Viadana. Despite this long period on the side line, the five tries scored by Williams in the seven matches played still make him the leading try scorer of the Italian side. His return gives Aironi more offensive options and also the opportunity to stabilize the pack.
There are two changes in the backs after last weeks match in Swansea. Matteo Pratichetti will play on the wing, replacing Giulio Toniolatti who is called by the Azzurri for the RBS Six Nations match in Dublin. At the same time, Roberto Quartaroli returns from the national team to play outside centre alongside Gabriel Pizarro. Alberto Benettin is confirmed at fullback as Sinoti Sinoti (who scored his fourth try of the season against the Ospreys) is on the wing.
No changes to either of the halves, where Naas Olivier retains his place at fly-half and scrum-half Tito Tebaldi becomes the first player to reach 40 caps with Aironi.
It’s not only Nick Williams who returns to boost the pack. Josh Sole is also back at blindside flanker, with Nicola Cattina completing the back row. Joshua Furno and Carlo Del Fava are confirmed in the second row and there are no changes in the front row, with Matias Aguero and Lorenzo Romano props and captain Roberto Santamaria hooking.
Aironi: 15 Alberto Benettin; 14 Matteo Pratichetti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Sinoti Sinoti; 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi; 8 Nick Williams, 7 Nicola Cattina, 6 Josh Sole; 5 Carlo Del Fava, 4 Joshua Furno; 3 Lorenzo Romano, 2 Roberto Santamaria (cap), 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Salvatore Perugini, 19 George Biagi, 20 Filippo Ferrarini, 21 Tyson Keats, 22 Emiliano Caffini, 23 Riccardo Pavan.
Coach: Rowland Phillips.