10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Despite playing for his club at the weekend Keith Wood was not considerd and that affords Shane Byrne the opportunity to start on Saturday with Frank Sheahan on the bench while Eric Miller gives way at number 6 to Simon Easterby.
In the absence of Wood, and with Mick Galwey who captained the side in the three previous outings dropped, David Humphreys will lead the side against the Italians. Ireland.Girvan Dempsey (Leinster/Terenure College); John Kelly (Munster/Cork Constitution), Brian O'Driscoll Leinster/Blackrock College), Shane Horgan (Leinster/Lansdowne), Denis Hickie (Leinster/St. Mary's College); David Humphreys capt (Ulster/Dungannon) Peter Stringer (Munster/Shannon); Peter Clohessy (Munster/Young Munster), Shane Byrne (Leinster/Blackrock College), John Hayes (Munster/Shannon); Gary Longwell (Ulster/Ballymena), Malcolm O'Kelly (Leinster/St. Mary's College); Simon Easterby (Llanelli), David Wallace (Munster/Garryowen), Anthony Foley (Munster/Shannon). Replacements: Frank Sheahan (Munster/Cork Constitution), Paul Wallace (Leinster/Blackrock College), Paul O'Connell (Munster/Young Munster), Eric Miller (Leinster/Terenure College), Guy Easterby (Llanelli), Ronan O'Gara (Munster/Cork Constitution), Tyrone Howe (Ulster/Dungannon).