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Treviso v Ospreys: Teams
At Treviso, Friday August 31, kick-off 8.05pm (BST)
Ospreys travel to Italy without a host of internationals for the launch of their RaboDirect PRO12 title defence against Treviso on Friday.
Missing from action for the season opener will be Ryan Jones (knee), Eli Walker (shoulder), George Stowers (back) and Justin Tipuric (hip).
Half-backs Kahn Fotuali'i and Dan Biggar have been preferred over Rhys Webb and Matthew Morgan in what will be a testing game at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo.
"Treviso is a tough place to go at any time," said forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys. "But to make the trip on the opening weekend of the season is particularly tough.
"They are a good team who as we've seen in their two seasons in the PRO12 are a match for anyone, and they've recruited well over the summer so will be confident going into the game.
"As always, our focus in training as been on what we can bring to the table, on our preparation, attention to detail, and the need to be clinical.
"Like every year there's a sense of optimism at the start of the season but it's one that I think this year is a little bit different.
"It's going to be a difficult evening. It will be warm and we'll be up against tough opponents desperate to start on a high in front of their own fans.
"It'll be a test of character for us but we are really looking forward to getting back into it."
Treviso coach Franco Smith meanwhile has taken the expected rainy conditions into account in his team selections.
Italy fly-half Kris Burton starts at full-back while Alberto Di Bernardo pulls on the number ten shirt.
Tommaso Iannone is at centre and Luke McLean is on the wing, giving the hosts more kicking options.
In the absence of regular skipper Antonio Pavanello, fellow lock Corniel Van Zyl will lead the side from the second row alongside Francesco Minto.
And new-look back row will sees Simone Favaro make his Treviso debut when he joins Alessandro Zanni and Robert Barbieri in the loose trio.
Favaro and prop Alberto De Marchi are the only new players in the starting XV.
Another new face who could make his debut though is New Zealander Dean Budd, who will start from the bench which has a six/two split in favour of the forwards.
Treviso: 15 Kristopher Burton, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Corniel Van Zyl (capt), 4 Francesco Minto, 3 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 2 Enrico Ceccato, 1 Alberto De Marchi
Replacements: 16 Franco Sbaraglini, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Dean Budd, 20 Paul Derbyshire, 21 Marco Filippucci, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Brendan Williams
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Tom Isaacs, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 James King, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (capt), 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Joe Rees, 19 Joe Bearman, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Tom Grabham
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Sunday 30th November|
|Glasgow Warriors 19 - 15 Dragons|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Connacht 14 - 8 Scarlets|
|Leinster 18 - 12 Ospreys|
|Zebre 18 - 10 Edinburgh|
|Friday 28th November|
|Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 Treviso|
|Munster 21 - 20 Ulster|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff Blues|
|Treviso 24 - 24 Leinster|
|Friday 21st November|
|Ulster 25 - 16 Ospreys|
|Connacht 43 - 3 Zebre|
|Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow Warriors|
|Dragons 12 - 38 Munster|
|Saturday 1st November|
|Ulster 23 - 6 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Scarlets 28 - 13 Zebre|
|Cardiff Blues 24 - 28 Munster|
|Friday 31st October|
|Ospreys 26 - 11 Connacht|
|Glasgow 17 - 9 Benetton Treviso|
|Leinster 33 - 8 Edinburgh|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com