27/12/2019 – Guinness PRO14 Communications – Zebre Rugby Team Announcement

ZEBRE CHANGE FOUR PLAYERS FOR THEIR TRIP TO TREVISO: NINE INTERNATIONALS TAKE THEIR PLACES IN THE STARTING XV CHOSEN TO FACE BENETTON RUGBY IN THE 9th ROUND OF THE GUINNESS PRO14

Parma (Italy), December 27 – Seven days after their last challenge, Zebre and Benetton Rugby will compete once again on the pitch. The kick-off, in the 9th round of the Guinness PRO14, is scheduled for Saturday December 28 at 2.00 pm Italian time at the Monigo Stadium in Treviso.

The match will be broadcast live in the UK on Premier Sports, but it will also be possible to follow the text coverage of the game on www.pro14rugby.org and on the Zebre Rugby twitter account with the official game’s hashtag #BENvZEB.

For the two teams – the only Italian sides which take part in the tournament, although included in the two different Conferences – the fixture will be their fourth encounter of the season. After the two friendlies, staged on September 13 and 20 in Treviso and Parma respectively, Zebre and Benetton Rugby faced each other last Saturday at the Lanfranchi Stadium during the 8th round of the competition.

Overall, since 2012 there have been 17 official clashes between the two teams, together representing most of the squad of the Italian National team. The Lions have been victorious on 13 occasions against the 4 successes collected by the Italian franchise, two of which have been gained away from Parma.

Placed at the bottom of Conference A on 8 points together with Ospreys, Zebre have lost eight of their last nine matches against Benetton Rugby. The most recent win against their opponents dates back to April 28 2018 and was grabbed at the Monigo Stadium in the final round of the 2017/18 season, the first one under the coaching direction of the Irishman Michael Bradley.

Thirty-four days before the Azzurri’s debut in the Six Nations 2020, the two sides will face each other in their second official derby of the year, they will meet again in the last weekend of May, in Treviso, in the last round of the competition.

This morning the Zebre coaching staff has announced their selection that will face Benetton Rugby. Compared to the previous match there will be four changes, all in the pack where Italian flanker Maxime Mbandà returns.

In the second row, the Italian international David Sisi will pair with the Irishman Mick Kearney, while in the front row the Argentinian prop Eduardo Bello and the young hooker Marco Manfredi will start with the rising star Danilo Fischetti.

On the bench Italian international Oliviero Fabiani, New Zealand scrum half Joshua Renton and Samoan full back Junior Laloifi all return.

Here's Zebre Rugby Club line-up for Saturday, December 28 at the Monigo Stadium in Treviso (ITA) for the 9th Round of the Guinness PRO14 against Benetton Rugby. Kick-off 2.00pm local time:

15 Edoardo Padovani* (80)
14 Paula Balekana (21)
13 Giulio Bisegni (93) (Cap)
12 Tommaso Boni* (82)
11 James Elliott (30)
10 Carlo Canna (87)
9 Marcello Violi* (61)

8 Giovanni Licata* (33)
7 Johan Meyer (88)
6 Maxime Mbandà* (47)
5 Mick Kearney (9)
4 David Sisi (50)
3 Eduardo Bello (37)
2 Marco Manfredi (10)
1 Danilo Fischetti* (14)

Replacements:

16 Oliviero Fabiani (113)
17 Andrea Lovotti* (91)
18 Alexandru Tarus (7)
19 Ian Nagle (7)
20 Jimmy Tuivaiti (20)
21 Joshua Renton (25)
22 Junior Laloifi (3)
23 Charlie Walker (9)

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*, Giosuè Zilocchi*

Ruled out: Renato Giammarioli*

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

Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italian Rugby Union)

Assistant Referees: Marius Mitrea (Italian Rugby Union) and Manuel Bottino (Italian Rugby Union)

TMO: Alan Falzone Penne (Italian Rugby Union)