Zebre ended their Irish road trip last Friday with their first ever win at the Sportsground against Connacht.
The Stadio Lanfranchi fans are ready to embrace their beloved team on Sunday when the Italian franchise will host the Welsh Cardiff Blues in the 16th round of the Guinness PRO14.
For this important encounter for the race to the EPCR Champions Cup playoff spot, the Parma based franchise will face the Blues aiming to get their third straight win after beating the Cheetahs and Munster at home.
In the previous five games played in Parma, Zebre have won twice, the last in the 26-15 in October 2015, while Zebre beat the Blues at the Arms Park in the season 2013/14 and earning the double over the Blues.
Zebre coaching staff can count on three Italian internationals who were released by Italy like last weekend: centre Bisegni, prop Chistolini and hooker Fabiani.
All of them were among the team who beat Connacht 19-11 last weekend along with centurion Palazzani; the scrum-half will be the Zebre captain for the first time on his 102nd cap. There will be a total of five changes in the starting line-up: two in the backs unit and three in the pack. The Irish utility back Parata switches to fullback with Venditti starting on the left wing. Fly-half Bordoli replace Canna with the number 10 jersey after playing fullback in Galway as substitute to the early injured Gaffney.
In the pack there will be a brand new second row unit with Sisi pairing with Krumov, while new-zealander Tucker switches to the back row.
The last change is the one of Minnie who will start at number 8.
On the bench there will be a permit player, loose-head prop Rimpelli of Rugby Calvisano in the main Italian league Eccellenza. The 20 years old prop is ready to earn his overall debut with the Parma based franchise and in the Guinness PRO14.
Here’s Zebre Rugby Club line-up for Sunday, February 25 match at the Stadio Lanfranchi in Parma (Italy) for the 16th round of the Guinness PRO14 against the Welsh side of the Cardiff Blues. Kick off at 2 pm local time:
15 Rory Parata
14 Gabriele Di Giulio*
13 Giulio Bisegni
12 Faialaga Afamasaga
11 Giovanbattista Venditti*
10 Serafin Bordoli
9 Guglielmo Palazzani (cap)
8 Derick Minnie
7 Johan Meyer
6 James Tucker
5 Leonard Krumov
4 David Sisi
3 Dario Chistolini
2 Oliviero Fabiani
1 Cruze Ah-Nau
16 Luhandre Luus*
17 Daniele Rimpelli* (permit player from Rugby Calvisano)
18 Roberto Tenga
19 Valerio Bernabò
20 Jacopo Sarto
21 Riccardo Raffaele*
22 Maicol Azzolini*
23 Matteo Pratichetti
Coach. Michael Bradley
Not available for selection due to injury: Eduardo Bello, Ciaran Gaffney, Renato Giammarioli*, Andrea Manici*, Edoardo Padovani*, Sami Panico
Not available for selection due to Italy’s game in France in the Six Nations: Mattia Bellini, George Biagi, Tommaso Boni*, Carlo Canna, Tommaso Castello, Andrea Lovotti*, Maxime Mbandà*, Matteo Minozzi*, Marcello Violi*
*Former member of the Italian Rugby Union academy “Ivan Francescato” of Parma
Referee: Frank Murphy (Irish Rugby Football Union)
Assistant Referees: Eddie Hogan-O’Connell (Irish Rugby Football Union) and Clara Munarini (Federazione Italiana Ruby)
TMO: Alan Falzone (Federazione Italiana Rugby)
Live tv coverage in Italy on Eurosport 2. Live text coverage of the game on www.pro14rugby.org and on Zebre Rugby twitter account with the official game hashtag #ZEBvCBL
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