Andy Farrell believes talk of leading Ireland to successive Grand Slam titles is premature as he attempts to build on the “feelgood factor” created by a resounding Guinness Six Nations victory over France.
Reigning champions Ireland made a statement of intent in Friday evening’s curtain-raiser in Marseille with a stunning 38-17 bonus-point success over the pre-tournament favourites.
The fixture has proved to be a Six Nations championship decider in each of the past two years, with the Irish dethroning Les Bleus 12 months ago thanks to a 32-19 Dublin win, which avenged a 30-24 loss in Paris in 2022.
When is Ireland v Italy
Ireland and Italy face each other on Sunday, February 11. The match kicks off at 3pm GMT.
Where is Ireland v Italy
The Aviva Stadium in Dublin. A ground at which the Azzurri have never won.
How to watch Ireland v Italy on TV
The match will be broadcast live on ITV1 and ITVX in the UK. In the Republic of Ireland, Virgin Media have the rights for the live broadcast.
Who is the referee?
France’s Pierre Brousset will take charge of the match. Telegraph Sport has also published a full guide to all the referees at this year’s tournament.
What is the latest team news?
Ireland have made six changes, including a new captain in flanker Caelan Doris and a new-look back row as coach Andy Farrell looks at his wider squad.
Doris, the 110th player to captain Ireland, moves from number eight to the side of the scrum with his spot taken by Jack Conan. Ryan Baird is in the number six jersey in place of last week’s captain Peter O’Mahony.
Doris, not as accustomed to openside flanker, filled in for O’Mahony when the latter limped off in the impressive 38-17 victory over France in Ireland’s tournament opener last weekend.
Prop Finlay Bealham starts in the front row instead of Tadhg Furlong and James Ryan is at lock alongside Joe McCarthy.
Stuart McCloskey comes in at centre for Bundee Aki, who, like Beirne and O’Mahony, drops out of the matchday 23. Scrum-half Craig Casey will partner his Munster team mate Jack Crowley in the half-back pairing.
Centre Garry Ringrose has not recovered from a shoulder injury in time to take his place in the squad.
15-Hugo Keenan, 14-Calvin Nash, 13-Robbie Henshaw, 12-Stuart McCloskey, 11-James Lowe, 10-Jack Crowley, 9-Craig Casey, 8-Jack Conan, 7-Caelan Doris (captain), 6-Ryan Baird, 5-James Ryan, 4-Joe McCarthy, 3-Finlay Bealham, 2-Dan Sheehan, 1-Andrew Porter
Replacements: 16-Ronan Kelleher, 17-Jeremy Loughman, 18-Tom O’Toole, 19-Iain Henderson, 20-Josh van der Flier, 21-Jamison Gibson-Park, 22-Harry Byrne, 23-Jordan Larmour
Ange Capuozzo returns as one of four changes from the side which lost to England last weekend. Capuozzo had been named in the side to face England but withdrew due to illness, and has been named at fullback with Tommaso Allan dropping to the bench.
Head coach Gonzalo Quesada was forced into other changes after the rib injury to flanker Sebastian Negri, with Alessandro Izekor starting after coming off the bench for his first cap in the 27-24 defeat to England.
Lorenzo Cannone is also out with a knee injury, which sees captain Michele Lamaro moving to number eight and Manuel Zuliani into the starting side.
The other change has Stephen Varney back in at scrum-half in place of Alessandro Garbisi who started last weekend.
15-Ange Capuozzo, 14-Lorenzo Pani, 13-Ignacio Brex, 12-Tommaso Menoncello, 11-Monty Ioane, 10-Paolo Garbisi, 9-Stephen Varney, 8-Michele Lamaro, 7-Manuel Zuliani, 6-Alessandro Izekor, 5-Federico Ruzza, 4-Niccolo Cannone, 3-Pietro Ceccarelli, 2-Gianmarco Lucchesi, 1-Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16-Giacomo Nicotera, 17-Mirco Spagnolo, 18-Giosue Zilocchi, 19-Andrea Zambonin, 20-Ross Vintcent, 21-Martin Page-Relo, 22-Tommaso Allan, 23-Federico Mori.
When did Ireland and Italy last win the Six Nations?
Ireland won the Six Nations last year, in 2023. They also claimed the Grand Slam and Triple Crown.
Italy have never won the title. Since joining the competition in 2000, they have picked up 18 wooden spoons.
Ireland and Italy’s Six Nations squads
What was the score last year?
Ireland were heavily favoured going into last year’s clash in Rome but were pushed all the way by a resilient Italy. Ireland pulled away late to win 34-20 but the match was not without its scares for Andy Farrell’s side.
What are the latest odds?
Ireland to win: 1/100
Italy to win: 50/1