Four changes to Azzurri side to face Ireland
Declan Kidney mightn’t be the biggest fan of rotation, but his opposite number Jacques Brunel has made significant changes to the Italian team to face Ireland on Saturday.
Brunel has made four changes to the starting XV, with Tobias Botes (the man who was told off by Nigel Owens at Thomond Park lately) coming in at out-half instead of Kristopher Burton, Alberto Sgarbi replacing Gonzalo Canale in the centre and prop forwards Michele Rizzo and Lorenzo Cittadini coming into the front row instead of Andrea Lo Cicero and the fiery ball of hair that is Martin Castrogiovanni, who is out with a rib injury.
Italy have yet to win any of their two games so far, but they didn’t disgrace themselves against France in Paris on the first day out and arguably let the game slip against England in sub-zero conditions in the Stadio Olimpico a fortnight back.
On home turf, Kidney’s men will be expected to come out on top, but it mightn’t turn out to be the Saturday afternoon stroll in the park many might be expecting.
Ireland take on Italy in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday at 1.30pm. For the Ireland team news – even though you could probably name the 22 off by heart at this stage – click here.
Italy: A Masi; G Venditti, T Benvenuti, A Sgarbi, L McLean; T Botes, E Gori; M Rizzo, L Ghiraldini, L Cittadini, Q Geldenhuys, M Bortolami, A Zanni, R Barbieri, S Parisse.
Replacements: T D'Apice, F Staibano, A Pavanello, S Favaro, F Semenzato, K Burton, G Canale, A Lo Cicero, G Toniolatti.