Jacques Brunel has made four changes to the Italian side which went down 19-15 to England two weekends ago. Despite his poor showing off the bench against England, Tobias Botes has been selected ahead of Kris Burton at outhalf. Deciding who fills the number 10 jersey for Italy must be a hard decision, for all the wrong reasons. In the centre, Alberto Sgarbi surprisingly returns to the side in place of the hard-tackling Gonzalo Canale.
Up front, fans’ favourite Martin Castrogiovanni looks like he will miss the rest of the tournament with the rib injury sustained against England. Treviso tighthead Lorenzo Cittadini will look to fill the Leicester man’s boots. On the other side of the front-row, Cittadini’s Treviso teammate Michele Rizzo comes in for Andrea Lo Cicero. As always, it’s a big, strong Italian pack who will look to ask serious questions of Ireland at scrum and maul time.
How do you think the game will go? Will it be an easy win for Ireland to get things back on track, or do you expect it to be closer than usual? Comment below with your predictions for the game on Saturday.
Italy team to face Ireland
1. Michele Rizzo (Treviso)
2. Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso)
3. Lorenzo Cittadini (Treviso)
4. Quintin Geldenhuys (Aironi)
5. Marco Bortolami (Aironi)
6. Alessandro Zanni (Treviso)
7. Robert Barbieri (Treviso)
8. Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais, capt.)
9. Edoardo Gori (Treviso)
10. Tobias Botes (Treviso)
11. Luke McLean (Treviso)
12. Alberto Sgarbi (Treviso)
13. Tommaso Benvenuti (Treviso)
14. Giovanbattista Venditti (Aironi)
15. Andrea Masi (Aironi)
16. Tommaso D’Apice (Aironi) 17. Fabio Staibano (Aironi) 18. Antonio Pavanello (Treviso) 19. Simone Favaro (Aironi) 20. Fabio Semenzato (Treviso), 21. Kris Burton (Treviso) 22. Gonzalo Canale (Clermont).
Photo courtesy: Elentari86.