Zebre Rugby team departed this morning heading to Northern Ireland for the first journey of the season that will see the white & black boys stay on the Irish island for 9 days to deal with two consecutive games away from Parma.
The technical staff of the Italian Northwest announced the line-up of the first match, tomorrow night's clash against Ulster Rugby at Kingspan Stadium. The Ulstermen are back from a 32-32 record draw in Llanelli in the first round of GUINNESS PRO12 while Zebre Rugby were defeated in their opening game on Sunday at the Stadio XXV Aprile against the Cardiff Blues and, in their history, they and have never beaten an Irish opponent in the GUINNESS PRO12.
Against the Northern Irish side at its debut in the renovated home venue, the Italians skipper for the seventeenth time will be the centre Garcia. In the two previous meetings in Belfast, Zebre struggled to score a try but were able to gain one bonus point in last December in a 13-6 loss. Against Rory Best and teammates the Italian franchise scored four tries that were not enough to secure a win in the first encounter between the two clubs in Parma where, in two weeks time on Saturday 27 September, the challenge will be repeated for the return leg.
Zebre Rugby could face on the field former Irish prop Dave Ryan - 28 official appearances with the white & black shirt in the last two seasons- who joined under the red and white roster during last summer.
Here's Zebre line-up for Friday 12 September 2014 at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast (Northern Ireland) for the 2nd round of the GUINNESS PRO12 against Ulster Rugby. Kick off at 7.35 pm local time:
15 Hendrik Daniller
14 David Odiete*
13 Giulio Bisegni
12 Gonzalo Garcia (cap)
11 Giulio Toniolatti
10 Kelly Haimona
9 Brendon Leonard
8 Andries Van Schalkwyk
7 Filippo Cristiano
6 Mauro Bergamasco
5 George Biagi
4 Andries Ferreira
3 Dario Chistolini
2 Andrea Manici*
1 Andrea De Marchi
Not available for selection due to injury: Marco Bortolami, Tommaso D'Apice*, Filippo Ferrarini*, Tommaso Iannone*, Matteo Pratichetti, Leonardo Sarto*, Giovanbattista Venditti*, Michele Visentin*
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales Rugby Union) at his 42nd direction in the competition, 3rd overall with Zebre Rugby. Assistant Referees: Peter Fitzgibbon and John Carvill (Both Irish Rugby Football Union) TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Irish Rugby Football Union)
Live TV coverage in Nothern Ireland on BBC NI. Live score text coverage on www.pro12rugby.com
Though the manner of Connacht's 43-3 win over Zebre Rugby was not so emphatic until the dying embers, coach Pat Lam was impressed with his team's game management in tricky conditions at the Sportsground.
After a break of two weekends for the autumn internationals, Zebre Rugby are ready to return to action tomorrow night for the eighth round of the Guinness Pro12, the away match against Connacht in Galway.