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We'll tinker with starting line-up for Treviso trip, says Ulster coach

Treviso v Ulster, Guinness PRO14 Championship: Stadio di Monigo, Saturday, 5.05pm

By Jonathan Bradley

Even having been handed a clean bill of health after last week's win over Cheetahs, Ulster are set to make changes for Saturday's trip to northern Italy to take on Treviso.

Having began their campaign with a bonus-point win against new South African opposition last Friday, director of rugby Les Kiss left Kingspan Stadium awaiting news of knocks picked up by Charles Piutau (calf), Marcell Coetzee (knee), Kyle McCall (finger) and Robbie Diack (hip).

His new right hand man, Jono Gibbes, said yesterday however that every member of the 23 from the side's season opener was fit to go again, but revealed that changes were planned.

"We have to make sure we are right for Treviso," said the man who has joined Kiss's coaching ticket from French giants Clermont.

"I'm a big believer in reward for effort, so with the nature of that Cheetahs game, some of the efforts were pretty substantial and some players had a lighter load at the front end of the week.

"It's an eight-day turnaround but it is a short time focus.

"There will be changes, and the guys that go over there need to continue to pick up on the clues from the performance against the Cheetahs, heed the lessons from our post-match analysis, and take what we have trained right through to the game on Saturday."

Ulster will have the last of their summer tourists from Ireland's trip to the USA and Japan available.

After Sean Reidy and John Cooney took part against Cheetahs, Luke Marshall, Jacob Stockdale and Kieran Treadwell have all been cleared to make their own seasonal bows against the Italians.

With the changes not likely to be limited to just that trio, Gibbes appeared to add that rotation will be frequent in the early weeks.

"I do not think this early in the season that having a first-team mentality is the way to go," he said.

"I think guys have worked hard during the pre-season, some guys have been rewarded for that and some guys have been challenged by that in the first two selections that have happened, Cheetahs and Treviso.

"We are a group, some individuals will get written about more than others because that's the way the game is.

"What we do as a whole, as a total group, is more important and that is why we do not really have things as a first-team selection."

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