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Seven Changes for Zebre to face Leinster in Dublin

Guinness PRO14 Rugby Editor

5 Jan 2017

Andries van Schalkwyk

Zebre Rugby are ready to start 2017 with the first game of their agenda.

The Italian side will leave Parma today, heading to Ireland where tomorrow night they face Leinster in the thirteenth round of the Guinness PRO12.

The challenge of the RDS Arena opposes Biagi and his team mates just two months after the first meeting of the season.

Back in November, Leinster overcome Zebre 33-10 in Parma.

This will be the tenth meeting between the two teams, with Zebre never gaining victory against Leinster, the two-time winner and three-time finalist of the Guinness PRO12 since its 12-team formula introduced in the summer of 2010.

Leinster are unbeaten at home this season with six wins while the only seasonal win for Zebre came on the road in October in Edinburgh.

There will be seven changes in the starting line-up of Zebre; four in the backs and three in the forward unit. Former All Blacks Sevens captain Kurt Baker switches to fullback with Italian international Padovani starting at fly half instead of Canna who gets a rest.

In the pack, Ruzza will start at flanker instead of the injured Meyer, while prop Ceccarelli completes an international front along with Lovotti and D’Apice.

On the bench, flanker Mbandà is back in after his recovery from the injury occurred with the Azzurri against the All Blacks in Rome during the November test matches.

Here’s the Zebre line-up for Friday January 6 match at the RDS Arena in Dublin (Kick off at 7.35 pm local time):

15 Kurt Baker
14 Mattia Bellini
13 Matteo Pratichetti
12 Tommaso Castello
11 Lloyd Greeff
10 Edoardo Padovani*
9 Marcello Violi*

8 Andries Van Schalkwyk
7 Federico Ruzza*
6 Derick Minnie
5 George Biagi (cap)
4 Gideon Koegelenberg
3 Pietro Ceccarelli
2 Tommaso D’Apice*
1 Andrea Lovotti*

Replacements :

16 Carlo Festuccia
17 Andrea De Marchi
18 Guillermo Roan
19 Joshua Furno
20 Maxime Mbandà*
21 Guglielmo Palazzani
22 Giovanbattista Venditti*
23 Serafin Bordoli

Coach. Gianluca Guidi

*Former member of the Italian Rugby Union academy “Ivan Francescato” of Tirrenia.

Not available for selection due to injury: Faialaga Afamasaga, Dion Berryman, Tommaso Boni*, Gabriele Di Giulio*, Andrea Manici*, Johan Meyer, Jacopo Sarto, Kayle Van Zyl

Suspended: Giulio Bisegni, Oliviero Fabiani

Referee: Dan Jones (Welsh Rugby Union)
Assistant Referees: Simon Rees (Welsh Rugby Union) and Jonny Erskine (Irish Rugby Football Union)
TMO: Neil Hennessy (Welsh Rugby Union)

The game will be broadcasted live in Italy on Eurosport 2 and on live streaming on www.eurosportplayer.it

Live text coverage of the game on www.pro12rugby.com and on Zebre Rugby twitter account with the official game hashtag #LEIvZEB