Ireland to ring a couple of key changes for Italy 2 years ago

Ireland to ring a couple of key changes for Italy

The majority of Ireland's players that stumbled on the opening day of the Six Nations will be afforded the chance to redeem themselves against Italy.

Joe Schmidt may have planned a few personnel changes for Saturday's visit to Rome but that looks to have gone out the window after last week's 27-22 loss to Scotland.

The Kiwi names his starting XV to face Italy on Thursday afternoon [1pm] and there are only a couple of expected changes. Andrew Trimble should come back onto the right wing in place of Keith Earls while Munster lock Donnacha Ryan is expected to start alongside Devin Toner, with Iain Henderson dropping to the bench.

The Trimble/Earls call is not made yet. The Ulster winger was said to have proved himself more than ready in Tuesday's training run but he will have to prove his full fitness at the Thursday morning hit-out at Carton House before getting that 14 jersey.

The other 13 men that started at Murrayfield should retain their spots, with Paddy JacksonΒ and Garry Ringrose two of the under-pressure players happy for the show of faith. Despite suggesting he was in line to train on Tuesday, Johnny Sexton will sensibly to left out of the squad.

There had been calls for CJ Stander to get a run at No.8 in place of Jamie Heaslip but Schmidt will give his first-choice back row another Test match to gel. Josh van der Flier will be in reserve as Peter O'Mahony is not being risked.

With Tadhg Furlong set to train on Thursday morning, the front row will remain the same. The Robbie Henshaw-Ringrose partnership will get its second international outing while Simon Zebo will start again on the left wing.

IRELAND'S EXPECTED XV

15. R Kearney
14. Trimble
13. Ringrose
12. Henshaw
11. Zebo
10. Jackson
9 Murray

1. McGrath
2. Best (c)
3. Furlong
4. Ryan
5. Toner
6. Stander
7. O'Brien
8. Heaslip