Strong Ulster side head to Italy to address away day blues

Ulster's 'Darren Cave
Ulster's 'Darren Cave

There are two changes to the Ulster starting XV that lost to Leinster last weekend for Sunday;s Guinness PRO12 match against Benetton Treviso at Stadio Monigo.

Louis Ludik, who was rested for the interprovincial match returns to the side at fullback with Peter Nelson moving to the replacements bench.

Franco van der Merwe misses his first game of the season as he has a chest infection, so Alan O’Connor starts the game in the second row.

Ireland international, Jared Payne, has recovered from injury and is also named among the replacements.

Tommy Bowe, who sustained a dead leg against Leinster, is fit to face the Italian side and is joined by Ludik and Craig Gilroy in the back three.

Darren Cave and Stuart Olding continue in midfield, while Paddy Jackson and Ruan Pienaar maintain their partnership in the half backs.

Wiehahn Herbst and Callum Black start either side of captain, Rory Best, while Dan Tuohy, who signed a new three-year contract with Ulster this week, is named alongside O’Connor in the second row.

The back-row is unchanged from last week’s match with Roger Wilson at Number 8, Robbie Diack at blindside and Clive Ross selected at openside.

Treviso have made seven changes to the side which won the home Italian derby against Zebre.


Jayden Hayward; Angelo Esposito, Michele Campagnaro, Luca Morisi, Andrea Pratichetti; Sam Christie; Edoardo Gori; (8-1)Dean Budd, Alessandro Zanni (captain), Marco Barbini, Corniel Van Zyl, Tomas Vallejos, Rupert Harden, Davide Giazzon, Matteo Zanusso

Replacements: Albert Anae, Josè Novak, D’arcy Rae, Marco Fuser, Francesco Minto, Meyer Swanepoel, James Ambrosini, Alberto Lucchese

ULSTER RUGBY: Louis Ludik; Tommy Bowe, Darren Cave, Stuart Olding, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Callum Black, Rory Best, Wiehahn Herbst, Alan O’Connor, Dan Tuohy, Robbie Diack, Clive Ross, Roger Wilson.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Andy Warwick, Bronson Ross, Lewis Stevenson, Sean Reidy, Paul Marshall, Jared Payne, Peter Nelson.