The Lions chosen for the debut in the Challenge Cup away against the Ospreys

The Lions chosen for the debut in the Challenge Cup away against the Ospreys

Benetton Rugby sets aside the URC for a couple of weeks and dedicates itself entirely to the Challenge Cup . Tomorrow, Saturday 9 December (6.30 pm) the Lions inaugurate their European journey away, specifically in Wales at the Stadium . The opponents will be the Ospreys , crossed just a week ago in URC. The two teams therefore know each other very well as they belong to the same championship.

This is the first round of the Challenge Cup which includes four matchdays to be played for each of the six teams that are part of Pool 2. The green and whites will then face Perpignan at home next week and in mid-January they will challenge the Newcastle Falcons away from home and Montpellier in Monigo. The South African Lions, the sixth team in the group, are also part of Pool 2. It should be noted that Benetton Rugby is coming off a historic result achieved last year: the green and whites had reached the semi-final of the Challenge Cup, a goal never achieved by an Italian team in a European competition.



In the 21 previous meetings between the two teams, the Welsh have won on 16 occasions. Five victories for the Lions, the last of which came a week ago in Monigo in URC for 18-13.



Tomorrow the French referee Ludovic Cayre will be assisted by the French Baptiste Nuchy and Pierre Bru. Compatriot Patrick Dellac at the TMO.



For the first cup match, Coach Marco Bortolami has decided to propose a XV with some changes compared to the last match. Having said that Eli Snyman will still be missing due to suspension, the fullback is Edoardo Padovani . On the sides of the widened triangle Paolo Odogwu is confirmed as right winger , while Onisi Ratave returns to the left . Central zip with Malakai Fekitoa assisted by Ignacio Brex . Andy Uren leads the scrum in midfield and Jacob Umaga joins him as an opener.


In the Treviso scrum on the front line the props do not vary: Thomas Gallo on the left, Giosué Zilocchi on the right; Gianmarco Lucchesi returns as hooker from the 1st minute . On the second line Niccolò Cannone will team up with Federico Ruzza . Sebastian Negri returns to the third line next to captain Michele Lamaro . The pack will be sealed by number 8 Toa Halafihi . Of note is the return of Leonardo Marin to the bench after a year after his injury.


Coach Marco Bortolami presents tomorrow's match and the lineup choices:
The lineup was chosen based on the quality of the opponent and there is the return of some players who had not received playing time in the last two weeks. The objective is to have fresh energy on the pitch after the match a week ago against the Ospreys. It will be a match very similar to that of Monigo: the static phases and the footwork will be very important. From this perspective the choice of Padovani as a fullback must be seen, to have consistency in the footwork, one of the central aspects also taking into account tomorrow's weather conditions, in fact a wet and humid pitch is expected. On the bench we have opted for the choice of six forwards plus two midfielders because it will still be a very difficult test for the forwards. I want fresh forces in the second half and to maintain our constant level of physicality for the entire 80 minutes. Some players like Brex, Niccolò Cannone and Ratave are back: I am convinced that it is a great opportunity for them and to get back into the starting XV. There is also Marin's return to the bench after a long period of absence, he finally finds the field again and has trained very well in the last period; I think it's the right time to bring him in and he will definitely contribute in the second half when he comes onto the pitch ."


Benetton Rugby :

15 Edoardo Padovani (42)
14 Paul Odogwu (4)
13 Ignacio Brex (73)
12 Malakai Fekitoa (5)
11 Onisi Ratave (9)
10 Jacob Umaga (23)
9 Andy Uren (6)
8 Lorenzo Cannone (31)
7 Michele Lamaro (C) (58)
6 Sebastian Negri (74)
5 Federico Ruzza (107)
4 Niccolò Cannone (64)
3 Giosué Zilocchi (6)
2 Gianmarco Lucchesi (37)
1 Thomas Gallo (45)


Available: 16 Bautista Bernasconi (10), 17 Mirco Spagnolo (6), 18 Filippo Alongi (31), 19 Gideon Koegelenberg (3), 20 Riccardo Favretto (29), 21 Toa Halafihi (62), 22 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (9), 23 Leonardo Marin (14).

()= presences in green and white.

Head Coach : Marco Bortolami.


Unavailable : Tomas Albornoz, Simone Ferrari, Alessandro Garbisi, Siua Maile, Tommaso Menoncello, Joaquin Riera, Scott Scrafton, Eli Snyman, Nahuel Tetaz, Manuel Zuliani.


Referee: Ludovic Cayre (FRA)

Assistants: Baptiste Nuchy (FRA), Pierre Bru (FRA)

TMO: Patrick Dellac (FRA)

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