John Hayes returns to international action in afcront row that includes Marcus Horan who missed the game v Wales through injury. Yet again Donncha O'Callaghan has been overlooked for a place in the starting XV with Leo Cullen partnering Gary Longwell, O'Callaghan named on the bench.
Irish Team to Face Italy:
15 Girvan Dempsey (Leinster Terenure College) 14 John Kelly (Munster Cork Constitution) 13 Brian O Driscoll (Leinster Blackrock College) Captain 12 Rob Henderson (Munster Garryowen) 11 Denis Hickie (Leinster St. Mary s College) 10 David Humphreys (Ulster Dungannon) 9 Guy Easterby (Rotherham)
1 Marcus Horan (Munster Shannon) 2 Shane Byrne (Leinster Blackrock College) 3 John Hayes (Munster Shannon) 4 Gary Longwell (Ulster Ballymena) 5 Leo Cullen (Leinster Blackrock College) 6 Simon Easterby (Llanelli) 7 Eric Miller (Leinster Terenure College) 8 Victor Costello (Leinster St. Mary s College)
Replacements: 16 Paul Shields (Ulster Ballymena), 17 Justin Fitzpatrick (Castres), 18 Donnacha O Callaghan (Munster Cork Constitution), 19 Kieron Dawson (London Irish), 20 Brian O Meara (Leinster Cork Constitution), 21 Geordan Murphy (Leicester), 22 Jonathan Bell (Ulster Dungannon).