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Benetton Rugby vs Leinster Rugby
Heineken Champions Cup Round 6
Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso

Saturday, 19th January 2020, 13:00

TV: Live on BT Sports

Leinster face a trip to Italy for the third time this season. They are looking to seal top seed in the standings for the knock-out stages for the second time in three seasons.

It's worth remembering that both of those previous trips to Italy were actually narrow wins. There was the roller-coaster of a 32-27 win in the first game of the season in Benetton. It could haven't been more different to the dire 3-0 slog of a win in Zebre. Now of course in both cases it was far from Leinster's first choice team but Leinster still need to be on their guard for Saturday.

Benetton have been very competitive in the pool this season. They annoyed the hell out of Leinster in the first match in the RDS and really should have beaten Northampton at home only losing to a last minute penalty kick. They were well beaten away to Lyon in December but got revenge the week after by beating them at home. Last week they went to Northampton and gave them an almighty scare before losing to a few late scores.

Their coach Kieran Crowley has named a strong side as he aims to finish the campaign on a high. Luca Morisi, Monty Ioane and Ian Keatley are the stand-out names in the backs while Braam Steyn, Alessandro Zanni and Hame Faiva are all useful forwards.

Last week's win over was comfortable yet flawed and Leo Cullen will have had plenty for his team to work on this week. With a six day turnaround, Cullen has shuffled his team somewhat with Sean Cronin and Andrew Porter coming into the front row. James Ryan is fit to replace Scott Fardy in the second row and Caelan Doris comes in to start at number eight. Interestingly the in-form Max Deegan is moved to number six in place of Rhys Ruddock. The backline is unchanged and Luke McGrath skippers the team from scrum-half.

Benetton will give a good account of themselves but a steady professional performance should seal top seed for Leinster.

Team Lineups


Leinster Rugby
Teams Jayden Hayward 15 Jordan Larmour
Angelo Esposito 14 Dave Kearney
Luca Morisi 13 Garry Ringrose
Marco Zanon 12 Robbie Henshaw
Monty Ioane 11 James Lowe
Ian Keatley 10 Ross Byrne
Tito Tebaldi 9 Luke McGrath (C)

Federico Zani 1 Cian Healy
Hame Faiva 2 Sean Cronin
Simone Ferrari 3 Andrew Porter
Alessandro Zanni 4 Devin Toner
Eli Snyman 5 James Ryan
Marco Barbini (C) 6 Max Deegan
Braam Steyn 7 Josh van der Flier
Toa Halafihi 8 Caelan Doris

Replacements Tomas Baravalle 16 James Tracy
Nicola Quaglio 17 Peter Dooley
Cherif Traore 18 Tadhg Furlong
Ira Herbst 19 Ross Molony
Giovanni Pettinelli 20
Rhys Ruddock
Marco Lazzaroni 21 Jamison Gibson-Park
Antonio Rizzi 22 Ciaran Frawley
Tommaso Benvenuti 23 Rob Kearney

Not Considered
due to Injury
Derrick Appiah,
Ignacio Brex,
Dean Budd,
Dewaldt Duvenage,
Marco Fuser,
Ornel Gega,
Engjel Makelara,
Nasi Manu,
Sebastian Negri,
Marco Riccioni,
Federico Ruzza,
Ratuva Tavuyara,
Charly Trussardi

Dan Leavy,
Barry Daly,
Jack Conan,
Vakh Abdaladze,
Rory O'Loughlin,
Ronan Kelleher,
Johnny Sexton,
Michael Bent
Officials Referee: Karl Dickson (England),
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), Anthony Woodthorpe (England),
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2020-01-17