Franco Smith has decided to trust to weather conditions for Round 1 of this season’s RaboDirect PRO12. His starting line-up depends on both technical choices and weather forecasts for Fiday evening: rain, indeed, is likely to greet Benetton’s official comeback to competitions.
This is why the South African coach has decided to line up Kris Burton as fullback and Alberto Di Bernardo as fly-half. Tommaso Iannone is at centre and Luke McLean as winger, thus creating more options in kicking-play.
With the absence of Antonio Pavanello, captain of the match will be Corniel Van Zyl, who will play lock together with Francesco Minto.
In the back-row we will see the well known Alessandro Zanni and Robert Barbieri, but also Simone Favaro, who is to make his debut in international rugby with the team for which he played in the youth sector.
Favaro and prop Alberto De Marchi are the only new players to start as first-strings; they are also among the first players to take part in RaboDirect PRO12 with two different Italian teams (Aironi and Benetton), preceded by only 5 minutes by former Treviso centre Gonzalo Garcia, who will play in Newport with Zebre.
The only other new player likely to make his debut with Treviso is New Zealand lock/back-row Dean Budd, who is starting from the bench.
As for the replacements, Franco Smith has decided to follow the same criteria applied for the first-strings: six forwards and two backs.
The match will kick-off at 20:05 Italian time and referee will be Mr John Lacey from the Irish Federation.
15 Kristopher Burton
14 Ludovico Nitoglia
13 Tommaso Iannone
12 Alberto Sgarbi
11 Luke McLean
10 Alberto Di Bernardo
9 Edoardo Gori
8 Robert Barbieri
7 Alessandro Zanni
6 Simone Favaro
5 Corniel Van Zyl (captain)
4 Francesco Minto
3 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet
2 Enrico Ceccato
1 Alberto De Marchi
On the bench:
16 Franco Sbaraglini
17 Michele Rizzo
18 Lorenzo Cittadini
19 Dean Budd
20 Paul Derbyshire
21 Marco Filippucci
22 Fabio Semenzato
23 Brendan Williams
Head Coach: Franco Smith.
TICKETING – Tickets can be bought tomorrow at all Ticketone selling points and at Benetton Rugby offices at the sporting centre "La Ghirada”. Working times of the latter are as follow: today from 9 to 17, and tomorrow from 9 to 13. Ticket offices at the Stadio Monigo will open tomorrow at 17 and gates will open at 18:30. At the Stadio Monigo there will also be a desk to subscribe 2012/2013 season tickets.
LIVE COVERAGE – The match will be broadcast live at 20 on Sportitalia (channel 61 of the DTT, channel 226 of Sky) with live commentary by Francesco Costantino and Tommaso Visentin. A rerun will be broadcast at 2.
LIVE – A live text commentary will be available on Benetton Rugby Twitter Official Page and the match is also to be broadcast live on Radio VenetoUno (FM 97,5) with live commentary by Emanuele Spironello.
PARADE – Benetton Rugby Under 16’s – last season Italian Under 16’s champion having won the trophy “Mario Lodigiani”, will parade on the pitch before kick-off.
PENNANT – Always before kick-off (unless countermanded due to weather conditions) a pennants exchange among Amerino Zatta – Benetton Rugby’s chairman, Gian Paolo Gobbo – mayor of Treviso, and Manrico Marchetto – chairman of the old-rugby team Vecio Rugby Treviso is planned to celebrate the 80th jubilee of the founding of the Treviso club. Two banners – one on each stand – will remind the founding of Rugby Treviso in 1932.
CHARITY – An info point of the charity organization Emergency will be placed into the restaurant under the covered stand, in cooperation with the Italian Touch Rugby League (LITR), to promote the tournament “Emergency Cup”, which will take place on Saturday in Silea, and to raise funds in favour of the paediatric centre in Port Sudan.
CORRIDOR – The teams forming the corridor outside the changing-rooms and playing at half-time are Benetton Treviso and Ercole Junior Monselice Under 10’s and 12’s.
EVENT SPONSOR – Event sponsor of the day will be Mesulana, partner of Benetton Rugby, who will award confectionary prizes to the six supporters drawn and to the RaboDirect Man of the Match.