Zebre’s head coach Christian Gajan has selected his side to face Munster Rugby at Thomond Park tomorrow night (7.45 pm local time) in the 7th round of the RaboDirect PRO12. It is the fourth away game for the new Italian franchise owned by Italian rugby union.
After the captain’s run this morning, at the new Rugby citadel of Parma, the coaching staff has cleared all the doubts about the players to be selected for the first Irish journey of the club.
One game of rest for three of the five internationals capped by Italy for the November test matches: lock Geldenhuys, flanker Bergamasco and winger Venditti. The other two, hooker Giazzon and fly-half Orquera, will take place on the bench replacing teammates not recovering from their injuries for the Limerick game.
There are first competitive starts for a couple of young Italian players, like Parma born Manici at hooker, and Odiete (born in 1993) on the wing after earning his first cap with Zebre in last Saturday loss in Heineken Cup in Biarritz.
In the backs, there are two changes from the French clash with Chiesa starting at fly-half; Martinelli will pair with him in the halves. Captain Garcia is confirmed at centre, with the Australian Halangahu. Trevisan will start as full-back while Pratichetti is confirmed on the wing.
Among the forwards, the front row will have props Redolfini and Perugini, both earing their 29th caps in the RaboDirect PRO12 in their 3rd straight appereance in the league. There is a brand new second row, with Sole and Caffini. In the back row, Cristiano will replace Bergamasco, while Ferrarini is confirmed after two good performances. Van Schalkwyk will start at number 8. The South-African leads also his side with the amount of minutes played in RaboDirect PRO12 with 392 in 5 games so far.
On the bench sits prop David Ryan, who featured 12 times in the red shirt of Munster, being a native of Cork.
The game will be televised live in Ireland on TG4 while in Italy will be broadcasted on delay at 11 pm Italian time on Sportitalia 2.
Here is the Zebre line-up for Friday game in Limerick for the 7th round of RaboDirect PRO12. Kick off at Thomond Park at 7.45 pm local time
15 Ruggero TREVISAN*
14 David ODIETE*
13 Gonzalo GARCIA (cap)
12 Daniel HALANGAHU
11 Matteo PRATICHETTI
10 Alberto CHIESA*
9 Luca MARTINELLI*
8 Andries VAN SCHALKWYK
7 Filippo CRISTIANO
6 Filippo FERRARINI*
5 Josh SOLE
4 Emiliano CAFFINI*
3 Luca REDOLFINI
2 Andrea MANICI*
1 Salvatore PERUGINI
16 Davide GIAZZON
17 Matias AGUERO
18 David RYAN
19 Filippo CAZZOLA*
20 Nicola BELARDO*
21 Tito TEBALDI
22 Luciano ORQUERA
23 Leonardo SARTO*
Coach: Christian GAJAN
* Former member of the Italian Rugby Union academy "Ivan Francescato" of Tirrenia.
Not considered due to injury: Marco BORTOLAMI, Paolo BUSO, Nicola CATTINA, Alberto CHILLON*, Andrea DE MARCHI, Samuele PACE, Sinoti SINOTI, Roberto QUARTAROLI*
Referee: Neil Hennessy (WRU, 12th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sean Gallagher, David Connolly (both IRFU)