Ireland make the change everyone expected for Italy, with one surprise call 3 years ago

Ireland make the change everyone expected for Italy, with one surprise call

Joe Schmidt has made three changes to his matchday squad to face Italy on Saturday.

Schmidt has brought in Munster lock Donnacha Ryan in one change from the starting XV that lost 27-22 to Scotland in Edinburgh last week. Ryan replaces Ulster's Iain Henderson, who is rested after picking up a strain in training. Ultan Dillane is on the bench.

The Irish front row has one change, with the recalled Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong packing down alongside captain and hooker Rory Best. While Ryan's selection had been predicted, few outlets called the return of Healy [his first Six Nations start for almost two years].

There is one new face on the bench, with Ulster's Craig Gilroy replacing Tommy Bowe as backline cover

Schmidt has resisted calls - in the media and online, at least - to re-jig his back row. CJ Stander and Sean O'Brien will pack down beside Jamie Heaslip.

There are no changes in the Irish backline, meaning Paddy Jackson gets another whirl at out-half alongside Conor Murray. Rob Kearney is fullback with Simon Zebo and Keith Earls occupy the left and right wings. Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose get their second start together in midfield.

Ireland take on Italy at Stadio Olimpico from 2:25pm on Saturday.

IRELAND XV

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

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

Replacements: N Scannell, McGrath, J Ryan, Dillane, van der Flier, Marmion, Keatley, Gilroy.