Sunday 19 November 2017

In-form Gopperth to ensure Leinster make it a winning return in Treviso

Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster are unbeaten since their defeat at Thomond Park early last month, but travel to Treviso tomorrow where the Italians have already beaten Munster earlier this season.

Matt O'Connor has named Jimmy Gopperth at fly-half alongside John Cooney for the clash at Stadio di Monigo (2.0), despite having Eoin Reddan on the bench.

Lote Tuqiri starts in a back three that includes two St Mary's College players, Darragh Fanning and Darren Hudson.

Elsewhere, Michael Bent comes into the front-row alongside Aaron Dundon and Martin Moore. Shane Jennings will captain the side after he was relieved of Ireland duties. Tom Denton forms a second-row partnership with South African Quinn Roux.

Treviso welcome back Italian international Manoa Vosawai at blindside flanker. Australian-born Brendan Williams starts at full-back, while Matt Berquist partners Fabio Semenzato at half-back.

The Italians have lost just once at home in the Pro12 in the last year and have won five of their last six encounters against Irish opposition. Treviso will be looking to end a run of two straight league defeats, while Leinster are hoping for their fifth win on the bounce. Although Leinster have won their last 11 games against Italian opposition they will be mindful of Treviso's proud home record.

Gopperth has been in fine form and if he can continue that here, Leinster should have enough to make a winning return to the Pro12.

Verdict: Leinster

Treviso – B Williams; L Nitoglia, A Pratichetti, C Loamanu, A Esposito; M Berquist, F Semenzato; A De Marchi, F Sbaraglini, I Fernandez-Rouyet; M Fuser, C Van Zyl (capt); M Vosawai, D Budd, M Filippucci. Reps: E Ceccato, M Muccignat, P Di Santo, A Pavanello, F Giusti, A Sgarbi, J Ambrosini, A Di Bernardo.

Leinster – D Hudson; L Tuqiri, B Macken, N Reid, D Fanning; J Gopperth, J Cooney; M Bent, A Dundon, M Moore; T Denton, Q Roux; R Ruddock, S Jennings (capt), L Auva'a. Reps: J Tracy, J O'Connell, T Furlong, B Marshall, D Ryan, E Reddan, C Marsh, C O'Shea.

REF – N Paterson (SRU)

Irish Independent

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