Munster v Treviso preview: Red Army keen to record maximum points in Round One
Treviso has never beaten Irish opposition
Munster makes five changes for European clash
James Ambrosini and Edoardo Gori return for Treviso
Munster will be looking to record maximum points when they face Treviso in their European Championship Cup opener at Thomond Park on Saturday.
The visitors have lost all 12 of their games against Irish opposition and are currently on a 14 game losing streak which sees them cemented to the bottom of the Guinness Pro 12.
Munster head coach Anthony Foley has made five changes to his team for their European Champions Cup opening round clash.
CJ Stander will lead Munster for the first time at European level in Saturday’s game while Mike Sherry and BJ Botha return to join Dave Kilcoyne in the front row. Sherry makes a welcome return to European action for the first time in over two years.
Mark Chisholm comes in to start alongside Donnacha Ryan in the second row for the first time. In doing so, the Australian will make his first Champions Cup appearance having previously lined out for Bayonne in the Challenge Cup.
Jack O’Donoghue, Munster’s reigning Academy Player of the Year, will win his first European cap from the start when he lines out at openside flanker in a youthful back row that also sees Dave O’Callaghan and Stander retained.
For Treviso, James Ambrosini and Edoardo Gori both return at half-back, Luke McLean reverts to full-back and New Zealander Jayden Hayward, the scorer of two tries against Connacht, moves to the centre where he partners Enrico Bacchin.
Up front, hooker Ornel Gega and Australian tighthead Rupert Harden start, South African Duncan Naude gets the nod in the second row and Francesco Minto resumes in the back row alongside captain Alessandro Zanni and South African-born number 8 Braam Steyn.
This match should be a walk in the park for a strong Munster side playing against a considerably weaker opposition. Stranger things have happened, but the home side should win this one comfortably. Munster by 20
Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Denis Hurley, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander (c), 7 Jack O’Donoghue, 6 Dave O’Callaghan, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Tomas O’Leary, 22 Rory Scannell, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino
Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Jayden Hayward, 12 Enrico Bacchin, 11 Tommaso Iannone, 10 James Ambrosini, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Abraham Steyn, 7 Alessandro Zanni (c), 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Jean-François Montauriol, 4 Rudolph Duncan Naude, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Ornel Gega, 1 Matteo Zanusso
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Matteo Muccignat, 18 Filippo Filippetto, 19 Dean Budd, 20 Marco Barbini, 21 Andrea De Marchi, 22 Chris Smylie, 23 Sam Christie
Date: Saturday, November 14
Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant Referees: Tim Wigglesworth (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)