The long wait has finally come to an end. After about five and a half months, Benetton Rugby returns to play in the international championship. In the midst of the explosion of the coronavirus and the confinement, but following the long path of the “return to rugby” protocol, on Friday the Verdiblanca formation will once again breathe the much desired air of the playing field. He will do so with the debut of Argentine Ivan Nemer, who will also be on the front row with his compatriot, Tomás Baravalle as a hooker. In the center of the field, will be Joaquín Riera.
The scene of the first official challenge of the Guinness PRO14 resumption is the Municipal Stadium of Monigo di Treviso, where the Lions await the Zebre Rugby Club for the first of the two national derbies that will lower the curtain on the Guinness PRO14 2019/2020 of the two Italian franchises. An abbreviated formula to close the sports season found by the competition management. The first challenge of the 14th round of Guinness PRO14 will be held in Monigo, while the 15th round will be held in Parma on August 30. In fact, for round 13, that is for the matches postponed before the interruption, including Benetton Rugby vs Ulster Rugby on February 29, it was decided to assign a 0-0 at the table, leaving each team two last derbies to play in the month of August.
Fifth in Conference B, the Verdiblancos will not mathematically access the postseason, but Sgarbi and his teammates want to end the season in style. The last game played by Benetton Rugby in Guinness PRO14 refers to the important conquest of the Newport field, the victory against the Dragons by 37-25 on March 6. The Zebras are sixth in Conference A and their last official game played on the field is on February 21, the 0-28 home loss to Munster. This season, Benetton Rugby beat Zebre in both matches at the end of December: 13-8 in Lanfranchi di Parma on December 21 and 36-25 in the Monigo derby on December 28.
Benetton: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Luca Sperandio, 13 Joaquin Riera, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Braam Steyn, 7 Michele Lamaro, 6 Alberto Sgarbi (C), 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Filippo Alongi, 2 Tomas Baravalle, 1 Ivan Nemer.
Alternates: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 Marco Lazzaroni, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Charly Trussardi, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Marco Zanon.
Coach: Kieran Crowley
Rugby Zebre: 15 Michelangelo Biondelli, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Giulio Bisegni (C), 12 Tommaso Boni, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Giovanni Licata, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbandà, 5 Leonard Krumov, 4 David Sisi, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Daniele Rimpelli.
Alternates: 16 Massimo Ceciliani, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Josué Zilocchi, 19 Cristian Stoian, 20 Jimmy Tuivati, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Antonio Rizzi, 23 Federico Mori.
Coach: Michael Bradley
Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR) Assistants: Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR) and Manuel Bottino (FIR) TMO: Marius Mitrea (FIR)