Italian rugby ends its 2011 with the second derby between Aironi and Benetton tomorrow in Treviso (kick-off at 2 pm GMT).
After collecting their second win of the season last week, thanks to a great defensive effort and to a perfect Luciano Orquera who set a new record for RaboDirect PRO12 kicking 9 penalties on 9 attempts, the Aironi coaching staff have named the same XV with only one exception – injured Fabio Ongaro. Roberto Santamaria will be the hooker in place of the experienced Italian international.
It will be the 35th apperance for Aironi for both Gabriel Pizarro and Tito Tebaldi, the two most capped players in the short history of the Italian franchise followed by Alberto De Marchi and skipper Marco Bortolami at 34.
Andrea Masi will start again at fullback, with Sinoti Sinoti and Giovanbattista Venditti on the wings. Roberto Quartaroli and Gabriel Pizarro pair up in the centres, while Luciano Orquera plays again alongside Tito Tebaldi at half back.
Josh Sole is at no. 8 with Simone Favaro and Nicola Cattina flankering. Marco Bortolami and Quintin Geldenhuys are the locks and in the front row Roberto Santamaria is the hooker between props Fabio Staibano and Alberto De Marchi.
Mauro Bergamasco, who made his debut with Aironi last week, starts again from the bench and will return for the first time to Treviso, where he won two Italian championships before moving to Stade Francais.
“We know it will be a tough match in Treviso. They probably will try create great pressure in the scrum, to gain some penalties, and use the line-outs to build a drive. We also know they have some quality players who can make the difference. But our first goal remains always to grow as a team, to increase our confidence and continue to develop our game”, said head coach Rowland Phillips.
As with last week, Aironi will wear a special shirt in tomorrows match. The special shirt will be autographed by the player and then sold at the price of 120 euros. All the money will finance AIBWS Onlus, the Italian Association of Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome, and help young children suffering with this disease. To buy a shirt, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
AIRONI: 15 Andrea Masi; 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti; 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tito Tebaldi; 8 Josh Sole, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Nicola Cattina; 5 Marco Bortolami (cap), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys; 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D’Apice, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Filippo Ferrarini, 20 Mauro Bergamasco, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Naas Olivier, 23 Alberto Benettin. Coach: Rowland Phillips.