Ulster aiming to overcome injuries
Buoyed by confirmation that former Leinster front-row Marty Moore is to join from Wasps, Ulster will be hoping to pick up five points against Treviso at Kingspan Stadium tonight (7.05).
With a host of players injured, and his Irish front-liners absent, Les Kiss has had to name an experimental side that will be captained by Christian Leali'ifano who has moved to inside centre.
Ulster will need to impose themselves early on if their altered selection is to thrive and if the hosts are to banish the difficulties they had last time out at the Southern Kings which was far too close for comfort.
Leali'ifano's leadership and experience will be key in his playmaking role at inside centre, though he may switch with out-half Peter Nelson on certain plays.
John Cooney will also need a big game and will more than likely be kicking at goal, though Leali'ifano showed his prowess in this area in Port Elizabeth.
Another key component will be trying to bring Charles Piutau into the action as much as possible, while also getting Tommy Bowe onto the end of cross-kicks may well be utilised.
Theoretically, Ulster should be robust enough in the pack and here Kieran Treadwell must lead from the front. The back-row is a concern with Nick Timoney and new cap Aaron Hall needing to dominate, and it will be a big ask for new cappers Schalk van der Merwe, Matt Dalton and Greg Jones if they are deployed early. Verdict: Ulster
ULSTER - C Piutau; T Bowe, L Ludik, C Leali'ifano (capt), C Gilroy; P Nelson, J Cooney; C Black, J Andrew, R Kane, K Treadwell, A O'Connor, C Ross, A Hall, N Timoney. Reps: R Herring, S van der Merwe, A Warwick, M Dalton, G Jones, P Marshall, D Cave, A Trimble
TREVISO: L Sperandio; T Benvenuti, I Brex, A Sgarbi (capt), A Bronzini; T Allan, G Bronzini; C Traore, T Baravalle, G Di Stefano, A Zanni, I Herbst, W Douglas, N Manu, R Barbieri. Reps: H Faiva, N Quaglio, A De Marchi, F Ruzza, M Barbini, L Crosato, M Banks, L Morisi.
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