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Biagi returns for Italian derby

Guinness PRO14 Rugby Editor

5 May 2017

Biagi returns for Italian derby

Parma, May 5, 2017 –  24 hours separate Zebre Rugby from the start of the most anticipated game of the year: the Italian derby against Benetton Rugby.

In the last round of the Guinness PRO12, the fixture puts the two Italian teams against each other.

With only 80 minutes left, the two sides are equal in the standings with 19 points each.

Zebre were narrowly defeated by Cardiff Blues last Friday in Wales with the bonus point useful for Biagi and his teammates to catch Benetton Rugby in the standings.

Zebre come in to the game with two straight home wins in April against the reigning champions of Connacht and the Dragons.

The Dragons precede the three-point gap with Zebre occupying the tenth place in the standings.

Tomorrow’s game will see more than 20 italian internationals who played in the 2017 RBS Six Nations on the field in the clash, which also has a place in the next EPCR Champions Cup for the Italian team that will be better placed.

Zebre need a win, since, in the case of equal points in the standings, they would end up bottom as they only have three victories, one less than Benetton.

In previous meetings, Benetton Rugby are ahead by 6 wins to 3, with an equal account in the four official games played in Parma so far.

Zebre Rugby coaching staff led by Victor Jimenez will count on captain Biagi’s return. The lock missed last two away games due to injury.

In total there are three changes in the starting line-up of the Parma based franchise, compared to the Cardiff test of last Friday.

Biagi, Baker and Van Schalkwyk will all start in the Italian North-West franchise, featuring 13 internationals, ten from the first minute.

Here’s Zebre line-up for Saturday, May 6 match at Stadio Lanfranchi in Parma for the 22nd and last round of the Guinness PRO12 against the other Italian side of Benetton Treviso. Kick off at 6.15 pm local time:

15 Edoardo Padovani*
14 Kurt Baker
13 Giulio Bisegni
12 Tommaso Castello
11 Kayle Van Zyl
10 Carlo Canna
9 Marcello Violi*

8 Andries Van Schalkwyk
7 Jacopo Sarto
6 Maxime Mbandà*
5 George Biagi (cap)
4 Gideon Koegelenberg
3 Pietro Ceccarelli
2 Tommaso D’Apice*
1 Andrea Lovotti*

Replacements :

16 Oliviero Fabiani
17 Andrea De Marchi
18 Guillermo Roan
19 Federico Ruzza*
20 Johan Meyer
21 Guglielmo Palazzani
22 Tommaso Boni*
23 Mattia Bellini

Coach. Victor Jimenez

Not available for selection due to injury: Faialaga Afamasaga, Valerio Bernabò, Dion Berryman, Gabriele Di Giulio*, Carlo Engelbrecht, Lloyd Greeff, Bartholomeus Le Roux, Andrea Manici*, Derick Minnie, Bruno Postiglioni, Giovanbattista Venditti*

Suspended: Dario Chistolini

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

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Federazione Italiana Rugby)
Assistant Referees: Emanuele Tomò and Simone Boaretto(both Federazione Italiana Rugby)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Federazione Italiana Rugby)

Live tv coverage of the game in Italy on Eurosport 2.

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