Preview: London Irish v Treviso

London Irish coach Brian Smith has announced a star-studded starting line-up for his side’s opening Heineken Cup fixture with Treviso at Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

The Exiles’ team features not only the club’s returning stars from last month’s Rugby World Cup but also the star players that have featured since the start of the season.

England’s Mike Catt and Peter Richards start as a new half-back combination in a backline that features Samoan international Seilala Mapusua at inside centre, Argentine international Tomas De Vedia on the left wing and recent arrival, Peter Hewat at full-back.

Delon Armitage continues as outside centre with Topsy Ojo on the right wing.

Among the forwards Argentina’s World Cup star, Juan Leguizamon makes his first club appearance of the season at number eight. He joins a pack that has been performing consistently well in the Guinness Premiership.

Tongan international, Tonga Lea’aetoa continues to anchor the scrum at tighthead prop with England Saxons’ David Paice at hooker. Dan Murphy maintains his impressive start to the season at loosehead prop.

Ireland international and club captain, Bob Casey continues his successful second row partnership with Nick Kennedy while Kieran Roche and Declan Danaher – all three are England A players, join Leguizamon in a dynamic back row.

“Our squad is very excited about playing in our second consecutive season in the Heineken Cup – for the first time in the club’s history,” said Smith.

“Last season we played some great attacking rugby against Toulouse, the Scarlets and Ulster but we failed to reach the play-offs.

“Our goal this season is to go one better and get out of our pool for the first time ever.

“We’re under no illusions about the difficulty of the task that awaits us on Saturday. Benetton Treviso are the leading team in Italy and have topped the Super 10 for the last two seasons.

“They have a number of match-turning players, not the least of them is Mike Horak, who will be returning to Madejski Stadium which he knows well.

“It’s vital that we win on Saturday and get as many points as possible so our supporters can expect to see us really going for it in attack.”

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Delon Armitage, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Tomas De Vedia, 10 Mike Catt, 9 Peter Richards, 8 Juan Leguizamon, 7 Declan Danaher, 6 Kieran Roche, 5 Bob Casey (c), 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Tonga Lea’aetoa, 2 David Paice, 1 Dan Murphy,
Replacements: 16 Richard Skuse, 17 Danie Coetzee, 18 James Hudson, 19 Richard Thorpe, 20 Steffon Armitage, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Sailosi Tagicakibau

Treviso: tbc

Date: Saturday, November 10
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT
Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)
Assessor: Patrick Thomas (France)


365 Digital

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