Ireland change four for Rome showdown
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has made four changes to his starting XV for Sunday’s Six Nations clash against Italy in Rome.
All the changes are in the forward pack with squad captain Rory Best rest for the clash. Sean Cronin takes over the No.2 jersey with Niall Scannell providing cover on the bench.
Also in the front row, Dave Kilcoyne takes over the No.1 jersey from Cian Healy, who is being rested as well. In the second row Ultan Dillane comes in for James Ryan
With CJ Stander still out injured, Jordi Murphy gets an opportunity at No.8.
Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton start in the halfbacks with Bundee Aki and Chris Farrell filling the centre berths. Rob Kearney is joined in the backfield by Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls.
The uncapped Jack Carty is named in the replacements and alongside John Cooney and Andrew Conway. Scannell, Jack McGrath and John Ryan are the front row cover with Iain Henderson and Josh van der Flier also named.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 22, 2019
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 John Ryan, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 John Cooney, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Andrew Conway.
Date: Sunday, February 24
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kick-off: 16.00 (15.00 UK & Ireland time; 15.00 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)