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Cronin handed rare start, Italy make five changes

Sean Cronin will make a long-awaited first Six Nations start and Jack Carty could make his debut from the bench when Ireland face Italy in the Six Nations on Sunday.

Cronin has come off the bench on 32 occasions in the tournament, but the hooker will feature from the outset at Stadio Olimpico.

Prop David Kilcoyne and lock Ultan Dillane are also handed maiden Six Nations starts as captain Rory Best, Cian Healy and James Ryan are given a weekend off.

Fly-half Carty is named among the replacements for the encounter in Rome in the absence of Joey Carbery, who has picked up a hamstring strain.

Iain Henderson is also on the bench after recovering from thumb surgery as the defending champions – skippered by Peter O’Mahony – go in search of maximum points following their win over Scotland.

Conor O’Shea makes fives changes to the Italy team for the clash with his country of birth, with scrum-half Tito Tebaldi getting the nod.

Maxime Mbanda, Jimmy Tuivaiti, Federico Ruzza and Andrea Lovotti also come into the Azzurri side.

 

Italy: Jayden Hayward, Edoardo Padovani, Michele Campagnaro, Luca Morisi, Angelo Esposito, Tommaso Allan, Tito Tebaldi; Andrea Lovotti, Leonardo Ghiraldini (captain), Simone Ferrari, Federico Ruzza, Dean Budd, Jimmy Tuivaiti, Maxime Mbanda, Abraham Steyn.

Replacements: Luca Bigi, Cherif Traore, Tiziano Pasquali, David Sisi, Alessandro Zanni, Guglielmo Palazzani, Ian McKinley, Tommaso Castello.

 

Ireland: Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; David Kilcoyne, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong; Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux; Peter O’Mahony (captain), Sean O’Brien, Jordi Murphy. 

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Jack McGrath, John Ryan, Iain Henderson, Josh van der Flier, John Cooney, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway.

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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