Italy make four changes for Ireland test

Sergio Parisse starts despite an injury scare

BY Daniel Kelly 13:50 Thursday 9 February 2017, 13:50 9 Feb 2017

Italy's Sergio Parisse Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Matteo Ciambelli

Conor O'Shea has made four changes to the team that lost to Wales, ahead of their second Six Nations match of the season, against Ireland, on Saturday.

Four changes (one positional) are made in the pack, with only one in the backs, as the Italians look to bounce back from last week's 33-7 loss to Wales. The Azzurri failed to score in the second-half despite leading 7-3 at half-time.

In the backs, Angelo Esposito comes into the team after missing out on the matchday squad last week. The Treviso winger replaces Giulio Bisegni.

Up front Sergio Parisse starts, despite an injury scare against Wales. The Italian captain is joined by a new partner in the back row though. Simone Favaro replaces Braam Steyn in the back-row with Maxime Mata Mbanda moving places to the openside.

In the second row, Marco Fuser keeps his place but is joined by Andries van Schalkwky. The Zebre lock replaces his club teammate George Biagi.

O'Shea has also made two changes in the front row. Hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini is back in the team, instead of Ornel Gega. 

Italy team and replacements to face Ireland:

(15-9): Edoardo Padovani, Angelo Esposito, Tommaso Benvenuti, Luke McLean, Giovanbattista Venditti, Carlo Canna, Edoardo Gori. 

(1-8): Andrea Lovotti, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Lorenzo Cittadini, Marco Fuser, Andries Van Schalkwyk, Maxime Mata Mbanda, Simone Favaro, Sergio Parisse (capt).

Replacements (16-23): Ornel Gega, Sami Panico, Dario Chistolini, George Biagi, Abraham Steyn, Giorgio Bronzini, Tommaso Allan, Michele Campagnaro.

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