Ospreys v Treviso - Heineken Cup match preview
Last Updated: 12/10/12 6:14pm
Ospreys kick off their Heineken Cup campaign with tricky-looking clash against Treviso in Pool Two at Liberty Stadium tonight.
The Welsh side have a score to settle following a surprise 12-6 defeat to the Italians in Pro12 action at the back end of August.
Richard Hibbard makes his 150th Ospreys appearance while Jonathan Thomas plays his 50th Heineken Cup game.
Ryan Bevington makes his first start in the competition while the Ospreys will be banking on Dan Biggar being on song with the boot.
Last season saw Treviso enjoy their best campaign in the Heineken Cup for seven years with victory over Biarritz and a draw against the Ospreys.
Treviso welcome back wing Ludovico Nitoglia from injury as he returns to the starting XV for the first time since mid September. Tobias Botes and Kristopher Burton form a dangerous half-back pairing.
Kris Burton is in form in front of goal and in Italy flanker Roberto Barbieri, Treviso have the highest scoring forward in the Pro12 with six tries this season.
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington. Replacements: 16 Matthew Dwyer, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 George Stowers, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Tom Isaacs.
Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Tommaso Iannone, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Valerio Bernabò, 4 Antonio Pavanello (c), 3 Jacobus Roux, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Alberto De Marchi. Replacements: 16 Enrico Ceccato, 17 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 18 Pedro Di Santo, 19 Francesco Minto, 20 Paul Derbyshire, 21 Robert Barbieri, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Andrea Pratichetti.
What they said...
Ospreys backs Coach Gruff Rees
"I've got a lot of time and respect for Treviso and what the people there have done," said Rees. "Not just over the last few years since they entered the PRO12, but over the longer term.
"We've all seen how competitive they've been over two years in the RaboDirect. They've picked up some excellent results, including against us at the start of the season. It's a credit to everyone involved and I can only see them growing, pushing forward year in, year out."
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