Treviso head coach Franco Smith admits he is excited to be re-merging his international stars with his young guns and hopes the mix will prove lethal to Ulster’s hopes in the RaboDirect PRO12 clash at the Stadio di Monigo on Saturday.
While the likes of Treviso’s international players Edoardo Gori, Kristopher Burton and Alessandro Zanni, Italy were hatching a plan and executing it to perfection to beat Scotland in the Six Nations last weekend, Smith sent the remaining members of his team back to the gym.
With the return to PRO12 action in the shape of Ulster, Smith is hoping his bulked-up team can do a first ever season double over a non-Italian opponent.
The Biancoverde won at Ravenhill 23-12 earlier in the season with fly-half Burton scoring all his sides points, save a penalty try, Smith is confident of his side’s chances at home this time around.
“It’s great we’ve got the boys back together now,” said Smith.
“The national team players had a good win at the weekend and they’ll bring a bit of positivity and urgency to the team.
“After playing Leinster, Munster and the Scarlets we needed a bit of a break.
“They were tough games which we put a lot into because we wanted to do well.
“Particularly for those guys who weren’t used to playing so often, the two weeks off were helpful.
“We worked a lot on our physique and the guys went for it like it was the start of the season but we’re happy the games are back.
“The international guys coming back have found a team which has worked hard and are physically in good shape.
“Leonardo Ghiraldini is 50-50 but the others are all healthy and in form.
“They’ve immediately displayed their desire and want to play for the team and that gave me a lot of pleasure.”