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.
This time around they face a tougher task against the Italians who showed up well when they played in Ireland earlier this year. Crucial to the Irish cause today will be the performance of their pack and in particuar how they impose themselves on what will be a big rugged abrasive opposition. Locks David Gannon and Shane O'Connor were partners on the Ireland schools side last year while scrum-half Daragh Geraghty, number 8 Jamie Heaslip and replacement Denis Fogarty were also members of that squad.
Ireland. Andrew Finn (Sundays Well); Richard Lane (U.C.C.), Brian Hastings (D.U.), Killian Coleman (Terenure College), Edward Hoadley (London Irish); Michael Glancy (Dungannon), Daragh Geraghty (U.C.D.); Stephen Bennett (London Irish), Conor Geoghean (U.C.D.), Declan Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins); David Gannon (U.C.D.), Shane O'Connor (Cork Constitution); Brendan O'Connor (Garryowen), Richard Simms (Edinburgh University), Jamie Heaslip (D.U.). Replacements: Fergus Gately (U.C.C.) Denis Fogarty (Rockwell College), Wesley Maxwell (Garryowen), Ryan Hartigan (Garryowen), Robbie Shaw (London Wasps), Neil Patterson (Coleraine), Andy Lowe (Belfast Harelquins).
Coach. Willie Anderson. Asst. Coach. Hendrik Kruger. Team Manager. Michael Cunningham.