Robbie Henshaw will win his 50th cap for Ireland against Italy this weekend.
THE Ireland coaching group has made seven changes to the side that started against France in round 2 of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship and will fly to Rome today to finalise preparations for the game against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday afternoon.
Johnny Sexton returns to captain the side and partners Jamison Gibson Park in the halfbacks, this weekend coming too soon for Conor Murray who is continuing his hamstring rehab.
Robbie Henshaw, who earns his 50th cap for Ireland, will again partner Garry Ringrose in the midfield. Hugo Keenan retains the No.15 jersey with James Lowe on the left wing and Jordan Larmour coming in on the right hand side.
A new front row combination of Dave Kilcoyne, Ronan Kelleher and Tadgh Furlong is set to start. James Ryan returns to the second row to be partnered by Iain Henderson. Tadgh Beirne shifts to the backrow filling the blindside role with Will Connors at openside and CJ Stander at No.8.
The replacements for the weekend are Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Jack Conan, Billy Burns, Keith Earls and the uncapped duo Ryan Baird and Craig Casey
IRELAND team to play Italy – Saturday 27th February, 2021
2021 Guinness 6 Nations Championships
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 8 caps
14. Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 26 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 49 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 4 caps
10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 96 caps CAPTAIN
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 7 caps
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 40 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 8 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 46 caps
4. Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 60 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 33 caps
6. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 19 caps
7. Will Connors (Leinster/UCD) 7 caps
8. CJ Stander (Munster/Shannon) 48 caps
16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 18 caps
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 106 caps
18. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps
19. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) uncapped
20. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 17 caps
21. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) uncapped
22. Billy Burns (Ulster) 5 caps
23. Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 90 caps