Perpignan eye Treviso revenge
October 15, 2010
David Marty feels the force against the Scarlets © Getty Images
Perpignan are back at their safe haven, the Stade Aime Giral, this Sunday, taking on Magners League newcomers Benetton Treviso in the second round of the Heineken Cup.
The French giants were humiliated by their Italian visitors in the first round of last season's tournament and their guard will be particularly high this time around given their hiding at the hands of the Scarlets last weekend.
Treviso have shown that their home form is a major boon - they were minutes from upsetting Leicester last weekend - but there are doubts about their ability to win on the road. Perpignan are a fearsome prospect at home; it's on the road that they struggle to feign interest.
Perpignan - Player to Watch: Veteran Manny Edmonds is charged with breathing life back into the Catalans, with the Australian promoted from the replacements bench into the No.10 shirt.
Perpignan - Team News: Edmonds takes over the fly-half duties from Gavin Hume who moves to inside centre. David Mele comes in at scrum-half while Jerome Schuster, Marius Tincu and Kisi Pulu form a new-look front row. Guillaume Vilaceca is promoted to the second row and Bertrand Guiry and Ovidiu Tonita bolster the back-row.
Benetton Treviso - Player to Watch: Former Bath winger Joe Maddock may not have gotten off the mark for his new club just yet but a prolific Premiership record last season suggests that there is more to come.
Benetton Treviso - Team News: Italian international Luke McLean switches from fullback to No.10 to partner scrum-half Tobias Botes. Brendan Williams fills the void at fullback, while Maddock is promoted from the bench onto the wing. Enrico Pavanello comes in at blindside and hooker Diego Vidal and prop Pedro di Santo join a new-look front row.
Key Battle: Two Aussie-born playmakers - Edmonds and McLean - are set to to pull the strings in this contest but who will see more ball? Cue a pivotal forward battle.
Trivia: This season saw Perpignan and Treviso grouped together in the pool stages for the fifth successive season.
Stats: Treviso have lost their last seven matches on the road in Europe, while Perpignan have lost just three home games in ten seasons of Heineken Cup rugby.
"They are very dangerous opponents. We were made to realise that last season and, while that is still hard to swallow, at least now we have been warned and we will definitely be wary of them." - Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel acknowledges the scars from last season's shock defeat.
Prediction: Perpignan may have made a disappointing start to their euro campaign but they are strong favourites to right the ship against the Italians and extend an impressive home record.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker