The penultimate rounds of the RBS 6 Nations tournaments see the Ireland Under-20s and Women return to Donnybrook this weekend, while Joe Schmidt’s senior side entertain the Azzurri at the Aviva Stadium.
UNDER-20 RBS 6 NATIONS: Friday, March 11
IRELAND UNDER-20s (5th) v ITALY UNDER-20s (6th), Donnybrook, 7.35pm (live RTÉ Two/www.rte.ie/live (island of Ireland only))
– The Ireland Under-20s’ 26-20 victory over England at Newcastle in the last round ended a five-match losing run in the tournament
– The Ireland U-20s have played just twice before at Donnybrook and lost on both occasions: to England in 2015 and to Wales in round 1 this season
– The Italy U-20s have lost their last ten Six Nations encounters since beating Scotland in 2014
– The Italy U-20s have not won away from home since beating Chile during the 2013 Junior World Trophy
– Italy have never beaten the Ireland Under-20s but they did draw 25-all at Avezzano during the 2013 Six Nations
Match Ticket Info: Click here to buy tickets for Ireland Under-20s v Italy Under-20s. Tickets are priced at €;20 for unreserved seating, €;15 for terrace standing, €;10 for children and €;7.50 for a family (two adults and two children).
IRELAND U-20: Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons); Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster), Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster), Conor O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster), Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster); Johnny McPhillips (Queen’s University/Ulster), John Poland (Cork Constitution/Munster); Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster), Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster), Conan O’Donnell (Sligo/Connacht), Peter Claffey (Galwegians/Connacht), James Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster) (capt), Cillian Gallagher (Sligo/Connacht), Will Connors (UCD/Leinster), Greg Jones (UCD/Leinster).
Replacements: Hugo Kean (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), James Bollard (Dublin University/Leinster), Ben Betts (Young Munster/Munster), Sean O’Connor (Cashel/Munster), Max Deegan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Niall Saunders (Epsom College/Harlequins), Paul Kiernan (UCC/Munster), Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster).
ITALY U-20: Matteo Minozzi (Rugby Calvisano); Pierre Bruno (Marchiol Mogliano), Roberto dal Zilio (Rugby Paese), Marco Zanon (Marchiol Mogliano), Luca Sperandio (Marchiol Mogliano); Leonardo Mantelli (Femi-CZ Rovigo), Vincenzo Charly Ernest Trussardi (Clermont Auvergne); Daniele Rimpelli (Rugby Reggio), Marco Manfredi (Lafert San Donà), Marco Riccioni (Rugby Calvisano) (capt), Leonard Krumov (Rugby Viadana 1970), Samuele Ortis (Rugby Lyons), Giovanni Pettinelli (Accademia Nazionale Ivan Francescato), Davide Ciotoli (L’Aquila Rugby Club), Gabriele Venditti (Fiamme Oro Rugby Roma).
Replacements: Nicolò Broglia (US Firenze Rugby 1931), Giovanni Amendola (IMA Lazio Rugby), Giosuè Zilocchi (Elephant Rugby), Lorenzo Robin Masselli (Accademia Nazionale Ivan Francescato), Michael de Marco (Accademia Nazionale Ivan Francescato), Giovanni Lucchin (Femi-CZ Rovigo), Marcello Angelini (L’Aquila Rugby Club), Lorenzo Masato (Marchiol Mogliano).
Referee: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
WOMEN’S RBS 6 NATIONS: Sunday, March 13
IRELAND WOMEN (4th) v ITALY WOMEN (5th), Donnybrook, 1pm (live on Irish Rugby TV)
– The Ireland Women have lost their last two matches, in France and England, and have not lost three in-a-row in the same season of the Six Nations since 2007
– The Italy Women beat Scotland in Bologna last time out but their only away victory in the Six Nations since the opening round of 2014 came on a visit to Scotland last year
– The Italy Women won their first ever game with Ireland in 1997 but have lost all twelve encounters since
– This is the Ireland Women’s fifth outing at Donnybrook where their only loss was to Wales in 2006
Match Ticket Info: Click here to buy tickets for Ireland Women v Italy Women. Tickets are priced at €;15 for unreserved seating, €;10 for terrace standing, €;5 for children and €;5 for a family (two adults and two children).
IRELAND WOMEN: Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster); Liz Burke (UL Bohemians/Munster), Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt), Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht); Nikki Caughey (Railway Union/Ulster), Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster), Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Elaine Anthony (Highfield/Munster), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster), Ciara Griffin (Tralee/Munster), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster).
Replacements: Zoe Grattage (Tralee/Munster), Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster), Claire Molloy (Bristol), Paula Fitzpatrick (Toulouse), Larissa Muldoon (Skewen), Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Claire McLaughlin (Queen’s University/Ulster).
ITALY WOMEN: Manuela Furlan (Benetton Rugby Treviso); Maria Magatti (Rugby Monza 1949), Maria Grazia Cioffi (US Rugby Benevento), Michela Sillari (Rugby Colorno), Sofia Stefan (Rennes); Beatrice Rigoni (Valsugana Rugby Padova), Sara Barattin (Rugby Casale) (capt); Elisa Cucchiella (Belve Neroverdi), Lucia Cammarano (Rugby Monza 1949), Melissa Bettoni (Rennes), Elisa Pillotti (Rugby Parabiago), Alice Trevisan (Rugby Riviera Del Brenta), Michela Este (Benetton Rugby Treviso), Isabella Locatelli (Rugby Monza 1949), Elisa Giordano (Valsugana Rugby Padova).
Replacements: Lucia Gai (Rugby Riviera Del Brenta), Gaia Giacomoli (Rugby Colorno), Diletta Nicoletti (Rugby Bologna 1928), Valentina Ruzza (Valsugana Rugby Padova), Ilaria Arrighetti (Rennes), Silvia Folli (Valsugana Rugby Padova), Paola Zangirolami (Valsugana Rugby Padova), Veronica Madia (Rugby Colorno).
Referee: Amy Perrett (Australia)
Assistant Referees: John Carvill, Sue Carty (both Ireland)
RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday, March 12
IRELAND (5th) v ITALY (6th), Aviva Stadium, 1.30pm (live RTÉ Two/ITV/RTÉ Radio 1/IRFU Live Blog)
STATS & FACTS
– Ireland are without a victory in their last four Test matches and have not gone five games in succession without a win since 2012
– Ireland’s only defeat at the Aviva Stadium in the RBS 6 Nations since 2012 came when England were the visitors in 2013
– Italy’s most recent victory came against Romania in Exeter in the last pool game of RWC 2015
– The Italians have only twice before won a round 4 encounter in the RBS 6 Nations, against Wales in 2007 and France in 2011
– Italy have won just one of their last 21 fixtures with Ireland: 22-15 in Rome in the RBS 6 Nations in 2013
– Italy have not scored a try against Ireland since Leonardo Sarto crossed during the 2014 RBS 6 Nations encounter at the Aviva Stadium, 215 playing minutes ago
– Italy’s only previous victory at Lansdowne Road/Aviva Stadium was 37-29 in January 1997
ON THE PITCH
– Ireland are the best tacklers in the 2016 RBS 6 Nations, missing just 50 of 547 attempts for a 91% success rate
– They have also made the most tackles, 73 more than second best Wales. Conversely, Italy have the poorest tackle success rate at just 86%
– Michele Campagnaro has made six clean breaks in this season’s RBS 6 Nations, more than any other player. The rest of his team-mates combined have only managed another nine clean breaks between them
– Conor Murray has made 243 passes, the most in this year’s championship
IRELAND: Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster); Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht), Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster); Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster); Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (capt), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster), Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster).
Replacements: Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht), Nathan White (Connacht), Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht), Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht), Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster).
ITALY: David Odiete (Marchiol Mogliano); Leonardo Sarto (Zebre), Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs), Gonzalo Garcia (Zebre), Mattia Bellini (Petrarca Padova); Edoardo Padovani (Zebre), Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre); Andrea Lovotti (Zebre), Davide Giazzon (Benetton Treviso), Lorenzo Cittadini (Wasps), George Biagi (Zebre), Marco Fuser (Benetton Treviso), Francesco Minto (Benetton Treviso), Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Treviso), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais) (capt).
Replacements: Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre), Matteo Zanusso (Benetton Treviso), Dario Chistolini (Zebre), Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre), Braam Steyn (Benetton Treviso), Alberto Lucchese (Benetton Treviso), Kelly Haimona (Zebre), Luke McLean (Benetton Treviso).
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite (France), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Television Match Official: George Ayoub (Australia)
– Compiled by SFMS Limited (Stuart Farmer Media Services)