20/12/2019 – Guinness PRO14 Communications – Zebre Rugby Club team to face Benetton Rugby

Zebre will host Benetton Rugby in Parma in the first derby of the season in 8th round of the Guinness PRO14. The kick-off is scheduled at 4.00 pm (Italian time) at the Lanfranchi Stadium.

The match will be broadcast in Italy on Dazn and in the UK on Premier Sports, but you can follow the live text coverage of the game on www.pro14rugby.org and on Zebre Rugby twitter account with the official game hashtag #ZEBvBEN.

It will be the third encounter of the season, the first officialy in the tournament.

Having already faced each other last September in two friendlies, played in Treviso and Parma, Zebre and Benetton will meet again on Saturday 28 December in Stadio Monigo.

The return fixture is on the last weekend of May in the final round of the regular season.

The two sides have met on 22 occasions, 16 of them in the Guinness PRO14 and 6 in test matches.

So far, Benetton Rugby have been victorious in 12 games in the tournament, while Zebre have collected only 4 successes: 2 in Parma and 2 in Treviso.

The last Zebre win against their opponents dates back to April 28 2018 in the last fixture of the Guinness PRO14 2017/2018.

At the end of today’s team run, the coaching staff has announced the players selected for tomorrow's clash.

There will be nine changes in the starting XV, with ten Italian Internationals on the field from the beginning.

Edoardo Padovani will play as fullback and will pair with the two wingers Paula Balekana and James Elliott.

The centres will be captain Giulio Bisegni and Tommaso Boni, while in the halves we will see the two Azzurri Carlo Canna and Marcello Violi.

The front row has been revolutionised with rising star Danilo Fischetti as loose head prop, Luca Bigi as hooker and Giosuè Zilocchi as tight head prop.

Irish locks Mick Kearney and Ian Nagle will start once again, while the back row will be Giovanni Licata, Jimmy Tuivaiti and Johan Meyer. Tuivaiti and Meyer have both made eligible for the Italian National team due to their long stay in the country.

Here's Zebre Rugby Club line-up for Saturday, December 21 match at the Lanfranchi Stadium in Parma (ITA) for the 8TH Round of the Guinness PRO14 against the Italian side of the Benetton Rugby. Kick-off at 4.00 pm local time:

15 Edoardo Padovani* (79)
14 Paula Balekana (20)
13 Giulio Bisegni (92) (Cap)
12 Tommaso Boni* (81)
11 James Elliott (29)
10 Carlo Canna (86)
9 Marcello Violi* (60)

8 Giovanni Licata* (32)
7 Johan Meyer (87)
6 Jimmy Tuivaiti (19)
5 Ian Nagle (6)
4 Mick Kearney (8)
3 Giosuè Zilocchi* (24)
2 Luca Bigi (5)
1 Danilo Fischetti* (13)

Replacements:

16 Marco Manfredi (9)
17 Andrea Lovotti* (90)
18 Alexandru Tarus (6)
19 David Sisi (49)
20 Maxime Mbandà* (46)
21 Guglielmo Palazzani (131)
22 Michelangelo Biondelli* (8)
23 Charlie Walker (8)

Head Coach Michael Bradley

Not available for selection due to injury: Mattia Bellini, Paolo Buonfiglio*, Francois Brummer, Tommaso Castello, Massimo Ceciliani*, Gabriele Di Giulio*, Leonard Krumov*

Ruled out: Renato Giammarioli*, Apisai Tauyavuca

*Former member of the Italian Rugby Union academy "Ivan Francescato"

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italian Rugby Union)
Assistant Referees: Andrea Piardi (Federazione Italiana Rugby) and Gianluca Gnecchi (Federazione Italiana Rugby)
TMO: Stefano Penne (Federazione Italiana Rugby)