Italy vs Ireland team news: Confirmed line-ups ahead of Six Nations fixture in Rome

Ireland have won their first two matches of this year’s Six Nations  (Getty Images)
Ireland have won their first two matches of this year’s Six Nations (Getty Images)

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has handed first Six Nations starts to half-back pair Ross Byrne and Craig Casey as part of seven changes for Saturday’s clash with Italy - but Garry Ringrose was forced to withdraw on Friday due to a calf injury.

Fly half Byrne replaces injured Leinster team-mate Johnny Sexton, while scrum half Casey comes in for fellow Munster man Conor Murray.

Hooker Ronan Kelleher, lock Iain Henderson, back-row forward Jack Conan and centre Bundee Aki have also been recalled for the visit to Rome. Henderson’s second-row partner James Ryan will captain Farrell’s grand slam-chasing side at Stadio Olimpico in the absence of Sexton.

For Italy, fly half Paolo Garbisi will make his first appearance of this year’s Six Nations as part of three changes. Garbisi missed the opening two rounds of the championship due to a knee injury but is recalled in place of Harlequins’ Tommaso Allan after returning to action for Montpellier last weekend.

Pierre Bruno has been restored to the left wing for the clash in Rome, which pushes Tommaso Menoncello to inside centre, with Luca Morisi dropping to the bench. The other change to Kieran Crowley’s starting XV following the Azzurri’s 31-14 Round 2 defeat to England sees Simone Ferrari come in for Marco Riccioni at tighthead prop.

Confirmed line-ups

Italy XV: 15. Ange Capuozzo; 14. Edoardo Padovani, 13. Juan Ignacio Brex, 12. Tommaso Menoncello, 11. Pierre Bruno; 10. Paolo Garbisi, 9. Stephen Varney; 1. Danilo Fischetti, 2. Giacomo Nicotera, 3. Simone Ferrari; 4. Niccolo Cannone, 5. Federico Ruzza; 6. Sebastian Negri, 7. Michele Lamaro (capt), 8. Lorenzo Cannone

Replacements: 16. Luca Bigi, 17. Federico Zani, 18. Marco Riccioni, 19. Edoardo Iachizzi, 20. Giovanni Pettinelli, 21. Alessandro Fusco, 22. Luca Morisi, 23. Tommaso Allan.

Ireland XV: 15. Hugo Keenan; 14. Mack Hansen, 13. Stuart McCloskey, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. James Lowe; 10. Ross Byrne, 9. Craig Casey; 1. Andrew Porter, 2. Ronan Kelleher, 3. Finlay Bealham; 4. Iain Henderson, 5. James Ryan (capt); 6. Caelan Doris, 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. Jack Conan

Replacements: 16. Dan Sheehan, 17. Dave Kilcoyne, 18. Tom O’Toole, 19. Ryan Baird, 20. Peter O’Mahony; 21. Conor Murray, 22. Jack Crowley, 23. Jimmy O’Brien.

When is Italy vs Ireland?

Italy’s clash with Ireland is due to kick off at 2.15pm on Saturday 25 February at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

How can I watch it?

Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch the match live on ITV1, with coverage due to begin at 1.25pm. Registered users can stream the action live via the ITVX app or website.