Ireland v Italy Team News – Saturday 10th February, 2.15pm at Aviva Stadium – Live on TV3

By
Updated: February 8, 2018
Rory Best & Joe Schmidt

Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt has announced four changes to the pack – Jack McGrath, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy and Jack Conan – for his team’s first home game of the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations against Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm.

Ireland captain Rory Best will win his 108th cap this weekend against Conor O’Shea’s side in Round 2 of this season’s NatWest 6 Nations Championship. The Banbridge man is joined in the front row by the Leinster duo Jack McGrath and 19-cap Tadhg Furlong.

Devon Toner returns to the starting team, having started on the bench at the Stade de France last weekend, and he will partner 34-cap Iain Henderson in the second row.

Munster captain Peter O’Mahony is named at blindside flanker, with Dan Leavy starting on the openside and and Jack Conan set to play at No. 8, the latter pair having just 10 International caps between them.

The half back pairing remains the reliable Conor Murray-Johnny Sexton partnership, with the Leinster player set to win his 70th International cap on Saturday afternoon.

Connacht’s Bundee Aki and Leinster’s Robbie Henshaw will play in the centre.

The backline remains unchanged from Paris: Rob Kearney is named at fullback, with Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale on the wings. Thirty-one year old Kearney will win his 80th Ireland cap when he takes to the field on Saturday.

New Leinster Rugby sensation Jordan Larmour has been named on the bench, putting him in line to make his International debut against the Italians. The other replacements named by Joe Schmidt include the experienced Seán Cronin and Cian Healy, along with the inexperienced Andrew Porter and Quinn Roux, the holders of just three Ireland caps each. CJ Stander, Kieran Marmion and Joey Carbery complete the Irish replacements bench.

Ireland began the NatWest 6 Nations with a narrow late victory against France at Stade de France in Paris last Saturday evening. Schmidt’s side will hope to maintain the winning momentum against Italy, and the Ireland Head Coach will certainly be looking for some tries from his players who failed to cross the whitewash in Round 1 of the championship.

Ireland Team:

15. Rob Kearney.

14. Keith Earls.

13. Robbie Henshaw.

12. Bundee Aki.

11. Jacob Stockdale.

10. Jonathan Sexton.

9. Conor Murray.

1. Jack McGrath.

2. Rory Best (captain).

3. Tadhg Furlong.

4. Iain Henderson.

5. Devin Toner.

6. Peter O’Mahony.

7. Dan Leavy.

8. Jack Conan.

Replacements:

16. Seán Cronin.

17. Cian Healy.

18. Andrew Porter.

19. Quinn Roux.

20. CJ Stander.

21. Kieran Marmion.

22. Joey Carbery.

23. Jordan Larmour.

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