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treviso dave
A stong XV with experience on the bench as Connacht face another tricky Italian encounter.

Starting XV: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O’Halloran, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion
1 Denis Buckley, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 3 Rodney Ah You, 4 Aly Muldowney, 5 Mick Kearney, 6 John Muldoon (c), 7 Eoghan Masterson, 8 Eoin McKeon
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Finlay Bealham, 18 Nathan White, 19 Michael Swift 20 Andrew Browne, 21 Frank Murphy, 22 Miah Nikora, 23. Danie Poolman
Unavailable/Injured: Brett Wilkinson, Ronan Loughney , Sean Henry, James Rael, Craig Clarke, Jake Heenan, Willie Faloon, Aaron Conneely, Paul O’Donohoe, Craig Ronaldson, and Kyle Tonetti.

Starting XV: 15 Angelo Esposito, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Alberto Sgarbi, 12 Joe Van Niekerk, 11 Andrea Pratichetti, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Tobias Botes
1 Matthew Muccignat, 2 John Maistri, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 4 Antonio Pavanello (c), 5 Corniel Van Zyl, 6 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Paul Derbyshire, 8 Marco Filippucci
Replacements: 16 Franco Sbaraglini, 17 Romulo Acosta, 18 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Valerio Bernabo, 21 Robert Barbieri, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Brendan Williams

Venue: Sportsground, Galway
Date: Saturday, 01st March 2014
Kick-off: 17.00
TV Broadcasts: None, Radio: Galway Bay FM
Referee: Leighton Hodges (WRU, 36th competition game)

Connacht are on a wee bit of a roll at the minute with two wins back to back against Edinburgh and Zebre. Admittedly it is not much of a roll but at least we know that the engine hasn't conked out. Luckily Lam has some good options to pick from for this match and a strong XV has been named to take on the visiting Treviso side.
Leader loses his place as Connacht's only 13/14 international Robbie Henshaw slots in at fullback, in a backline that is otherwise unchanged from the side that beat Zebre last week. Marmion deserves a mention given that he will earn his 50th cap in what must be a record time for the province.
Up front the Muldowney, who played half an hour against Zebre, is starting in place of Swift who drops to the bench. Eoin McKeon recovers from injury and starts at number 8, allowing Muldoon to take up the captaincy from the blindside. Masterson obviously did enough in his 56 minutes last week for the coach to show faith in him despite having more senior operators (albeit not natural opensides) available.
The bench is strengthened by the return of sometimes captain Nathan White. With Muldowney and Masterson both starting it means that there is experience in the form of Browne and Swift available on the subs bench. Interstingly Nikora was trialled at scrum-half last week so it would be interesting to see if that is attempted against Treviso as well. Finally the Clan Terrace will also have a chance to welcome back to action Danie Poolman, who recovered in time to provide a 28 minute cameo last week.

In stark contrast to the single Irish international released to Connacht this week, Treviso welcome back a total of seven players (Robert Barbieri, Angelo Esposito, Antonio Pavanello, Lorenzo Cittadini, Alberto Sgarbi, Paul Derbyshire and Manoa Vosawai). Five are in the match XXII that lines up against Connacht, with four of them (Esposito, Botes, Cittadini and Derbyshire) having been involved against Scotland. Involvement in national squads will no doubt have focused the minds of these players and they will take that edge into the match with them.

A win for Connacht is a must if they hope to continue an upward trend toward the end of the season. Blues who have a single points advantage are playing against Zebre away and likely will come away with a victory so Connacht need to stay in touch. With Edinburgh playing against Osprey's however there is an opportunity for Connacht to jump their Scottish rivals for the meantime (Edinburgh have two matches in hand). It won't come easily though as Treviso will want to skip back above Connacht with a victory. Denying them a losing bonus point would be ideal as they also have a game in hand and trail by only two points.
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