Aironi v Ospreys: Teams
At Stadio Zaffanella, Saturday May 5, kick-off 7.30pm
Last Updated: 04/05/12 4:07pm
The Ospreys will look to gain momentum for the Pro12 play-offs when they travel to Aironi on the final day of the regular season.
The Welsh side have never lost to an Italian team and go into the contest full of confidence having won three of their last four away matches.
Aironi have won just once since January and are bottom of the table with four wins all season from 21 outings.
Fit-again Paolo Buso is back in Aironi's starting XV for the first time in over a year.
Sinoti Sinoti and Giovanbattista Venditti are the wings, while Gabriel Pizarro returns to pair with Matteo Pratichetti at centres.
In the halves Naas Olivier is at 10 with Tito Tebaldi, who holds the record for most appearances in the club's short history, back at scrum half.
In the back row Nick Williams, after starting amongst the replacements is the last two games, returns at number 8 replacing Josh Sole. Simone Favaro and Nicola Cattina are the flankers.
No changes in the second row, with Quintin Geldenhuys and skipper Marco Bortolami. In the front row also hooker Roberto Santamaria returns from an injury suffered in the win against Munster. Matias Aguero and Lorenzo Romano are the props.
Strength in depth
Ospreys are without a host of players, but still have a strong-looking side available for selection.
Justin Tipuric (back), Aaron Jarvis (hamstring), Tommy Bowe (haematoma), Kristian Phillips (abdomen) and Huw Bennett (Achilles) are all ruled out through injury.
Coach Steve Tandy is keen for to his charges to avoid any complacency in Italy.
"It's important that we keep the momentum of the last couple of months going and we'll expect the team to maintain the standards that they've set in the last few games," commented Tandy.
"It's easy for players to get distracted with a semi-final on the horizon, but the group has worked very hard this week and we've ensured that the focus has been firmly on Aironi and what will be a very difficult evening for us.
"The attitude of the team has been spot on over the last couple of months and they've got their reward for that with a home semi-final."
Aironi: 15 Paolo Buso, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Matteo Pratichetti, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Nicola Cattina; 5 Marco Bortolami (cap), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys; 3 Lorenzo Romano, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Salvatore Perugini, 19 Carlo Del Fava, 20 Josh Sole, 21 Tyson Keats, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Gilberto Pavan.
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Tom Smith, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (Capt), 3 Adam Jones 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Joe Rees, 19 James King, 20 George Stowers, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Tom Isaacs.