Marie Louise Reilly is joined in the second row by Laura Guest, forming a Leinster-Munster axis.
Carol Staunton and Claire Molloy will pack down in the back row either side of dynamic number 8 Joy Neville, who scored two tries in Ireland's 22-5 win over Italy last year.
Nora Stapleton, who made her debut against Italy twelve months ago, moves from the wing to out-half, a position she has been playing for her club side Old Belvedere. She will be partnered at half-back by the equally versatile Amy Davis.
The vastly-experienced Lynne Cantwell is joined in the centre by Highfield's Geraldine Rea, who earns her first cap.
Niamh Briggs will again assume the place-kicking duties from full-back, with UL Bohemians wingers Mairead Kelly and Niamh Kavanagh, who is another new cap, completing the back-three.
Looking forward to the Championship, Irish skipper Fiona Coghlan said: "We've lost some players through retirement and injury, so I think we have to be realistic with a lot of new girls coming in.
"There's a huge eagerness for the girls to learn, and there's huge potential. Once they get into the flow of the games, they'll really develop.
"With the Italians, they're a team we never know much about from one year to the next. They're always a side we struggle to play well against - they implement the gameplan that they want, and it takes us a while to get around it.
"Away from home, it's never going to be easy. But I think if we just knuckle down and play the right gameplan, hopefully we'll get off to a winning start."
IRELAND WOMEN'S Team & Replacements (v Italy Women, 2011 Women's RBS 6 Nations, Rovigo, Sunday, February 6, kick-off 2.30pm local time/1.30pm Irish time):
15. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster)
14. Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
13. Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exile)
12. Geraldine Rea (Highfield/Munster) *
11. Mairead Kelly (UL Bohemians/Munster)
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
9. Amy Davis (Blackrock/Leinster)
16. Stacey Kennedy (City of Derry/Ulster) *
17. Emer McManamly (Blackrock/Leinster)
18. Deirdre O'Brien (Blackrock/Leinster) *
19. Heather O'Brien (Highfield/Munster) *
20. Larissa Muldoon (UWIC/Exile) *
21. Gill Nolan (St. Mary's/Leinster) *
22. Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Leinster)
* Denotes uncapped player
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