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Italy and Ireland will look to get off the mark in this year’s Six Nations championship after suffering week one defeats, before Wales and England collide at the Principality Stadium in what is sure to be a fiery encounter in Cardiff between two of the unbeaten sides.
Ireland will travel to Rome’s Stadio Olimpico in Week 2 of the 2017 Six Nations as they look to defeat fellow first-round losers Italy and recover from their opening loss to Scotland on Saturday.
Coach Joe Schmidt saw his side fall victim to a spirited Scotland attack en route to a 27-22 defeat at Murrayfield last weekend.
Meanwhile, Italy coach Conor O’Shea lost his first Six Nations game in charge of the Azzurri after the Italians were unable to uphold their half-time lead against Wales before dropping to a 33-7 loss on Sunday.
Two teams desperate to get their Six Nations campaigns up and running will duke it out at the Stadio Olimpico, with Ireland shouldering the heavier burden to produce a result on their trip to Rome.
Date: Saturday, February 11
Time: 2:25 p.m. GMT/9:25 a.m. ET
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Live Stream: ITV Hub (UK)
TV Info: ITV (UK)
The matchday squad shows four changes to the one that claimed a late win over their Scottish counterparts last Friday night. Charlie Connolly will start in the front row, with Calvin Nash coming into the back-three and Matthew Burke and Gavin Coombes coming on the bench.
The front row sees hooker Tadgh McElroy joined by props Joey Conway and Connolly, who replaces the injured Peter Cooper at tighthead.
The second row pairing of Fineen Wycherley and Oisin Dowling remains the same from last week’s Championship opener, while flanker Cillian Gallagher will captain the side in the absence of injured full-back Jack Kelly. Gallagher is joined in the back row by Paul Boyle and number 8 Caelan Doris.
The Ulster duo of Jonny Stewart and Johnny McPhillips – the man-of-the-match against Scotland – continue as Ireland’s starting half-backs, with UCD club-mates Ciaran Frawley and Gavin Mullin retained in the centre.
Colm Hogan shifts from the wing to full-back, with Jordan Larmour (pictured below) and Nash, who made his senior debut for Munster last weekend, taking their places on the wings.
Ahead of the squad’s departure for Prato, Carolan said: “It was tough going last Friday night in Glasgow. The conditions made it challenging and with 21 of the 23 players involved gaining their first experience of international rugby at this level, the fact that we came away with the result against a very good Scottish side is a big positive.
“The Italians are ever improving, so we are expecting another tough encounter, particularly up front, where they made life difficult for Wales last week.
“We have made a couple of changes for this week, so for the players selected, we’re looking for them to build on their experience from last week and continue to develop as a team.”