The Ireland Coaching Team have named the Match Day Squad for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash against Italy at Stadio Olimpico in Rome (Kick-off 2.15pm).
It will be the seventh occasion that James Ryan will take the captain’s armband and he will be partnered in the second row by Iain Henderson, who makes his first start for Ireland since the final game of last year’s Championship against Scotland.
Ronan Kelleher is retained at hooker having come off the bench against France with Andrew Porterand Finlay Bealham either side of him in the front row. In the back row, Jack Conan comes in at number eight with Caelan Doris switching to the blindside flank and Josh van der Flier at openside.
Craig Casey and Ross Byrne are set to make their first Six Nations starts and Bundee Aki is introduced to the midfield having started from the bench in the opening two rounds. Garry Ringrose is set to make his 50th appearance for Ireland while the back three of Hugo Keenan, James Lowe and Mack Hansen is unchanged from the opening two rounds.
Dan Sheehan has returned to fitness to take his place among the replacements alongside Dave Kilcoyne, Tom O’Toole, Ryan Baird, Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley and Stuart McCloskey.
The match will be broadcast live on RTE and ITV television and on RTE and BBC NI radio.
IRELAND team to play Italy – Round 3, 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championships, Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Saturday 25th February, 2023, KO 14.15 (IST)
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 27 caps
14. Mack Hansen (Connacht/Corinthians) 11 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 49 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 43 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 17 caps
10. Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 16 caps
9. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 9 caps
1. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 50 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 19 caps
3. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 29 caps
4. Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 70 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 50 caps (c)
6. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 25 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 47 caps
8. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 35
16. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 14 caps
17. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 50 caps
18. Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 6 caps
19. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 8 caps
20. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 91 caps caps
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 102 caps
22. Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution) 2 caps
23. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 11 caps
2023 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures & Result
Wales 10 IRELAND 34
Principality Stadium, Saturday 4th February 2023
IRELAND 32 France 19
Aviva Stadium, Saturday 11th February 2023
Italy v IRELAND
Saturday 25th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio
Scotland v IRELAND
Sunday 12th March 2023, KO 15:00 (IST)
RTE TV / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radio
IRELAND v England
Saturday 18th March 2023, KO 17:00 (IST)
VIRGIN / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio