Italy make three changes

Date published: March 14 2013

Italy have made three changes to their XV that will face Ireland in Rome as Simone Favaro, Lorenzo Cittadini and Andrea Lo Cicero start.

Italy have made three changes to their line-up that will face Ireland in Rome as Simone Favaro, Lorenzo Cittadini and Andrea Lo Cicero all make the XV.

The forwards come in for Robert Barbieri, Martin Castrogiovanni and Alberto de Marchi respectively for the Azzurri's final game of Six Nations 2013.

Openside flanker Barbieri and tighthead prop Castriogiovanni are not in Jacques Brunel's matchday 23 but De Marchi is on the bench. Castrogiovanni has failed to recover from a thigh injury.

Italy, who stunned France 23-18 in Rome in their Six Nations opener, sit second from bottom of the table with two points, one more than Les Bleus.

Ireland, meanwhile, have fared barely any better and have only one more point than Italy ahead of a match which, it is rumoured, could decide the future of head coach Declan Kidney.

After beginning the campaign with the aim of claiming two wins from the tournament, a win against injury-hit Ireland appears to be within Italy's grasp, especially with the late withdrawal of fly-half Jonathan Sexton, who had been expected to be back in the side after injury.

Brunel, however, made light of Ireland's recent woes and believes the inclusion of Brian O'Driscoll, who suffered concussion in the 13-13 draw against France, could boost the visitors on what could be the Ireland captain's swansong.

“We have the utmost respect for Ireland. People say they've been ageing for the past 10 years, but they're always up there and can give any team a good game on their day,” Brunel told AFP on Thursday.

“It will probably be O'Driscoll's final match, so that will add an extra dimension to their game. But overall, Ireland is a team full of good, talented players.”

Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovambattista Venditti, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Joshua Furno, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c) 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Alberto de Marchi, 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Francesco Minto, 21 Paul Derbyshire, 22 Tobias Botes, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti.

Date: Saturday, March 16
Kick-off: 15:30 (14:30 GMT)
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Television match official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)