DUBLIN: Ireland will spare Italy from Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, new captain Peter O’Mahony, and Bundee Aki for their Six Nations match on Sunday at Lansdowne Road.
Former world player of the year Josh van der Flier and scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park also aren’t starting but are in the reserves.
All six started last weekend when Ireland humbled France by a record 38-17 in Marseille.
Flyhalf Jack Crowley and wing Calvin Nash were retained after assured first Six Nations starts in Marseille. Crowley will be fed by his Munster clubmate Craig Casey.
Finlay Bealham, the only non-Leinster player among the forwards, replaced Furlong at tighthead prop, and former captain James Ryan will pack down in the second row with six-cap tyro Joe McCarthy, who was the man of the match against France.
Caelan Doris captains Ireland for the first time with a start on the openside flank to accommodate No. 8 Jack Conan, while Ryan Baird fills in for O’Mahony, who has a calf issue. O’Mahony and Furlong, who also has a sore calf, haven’t trained this week.
Aki has been replaced by Stuart McCloskey with Garry Ringrose given two more weeks to recover from a shoulder injury three weeks ago.
The reserves include former Lion lock Iain Henderson, plus flyhalf Harry Byrne and outside back Jordan Larmour, who haven’t been capped since 2021.
Meanwhile, Ange Capuozzo was reinstalled by Italy among four changes after falling to England 27-24 in Rome last weekend.
Capuozzo was a late withdrawal for that match due to a stomach illness. He’s at fullback and Tommaso Allan was dropped to the reserves.
Treviso back-rowers Manuel Zuliani and Alessandro Izekor, who came off the bench against England are starting, with captain Michele Lamaro moving to No. 8. Lorenzo Cannone and Sebastian Negri were injured.
Stephen Varney starts at scrumhalf after swapping with Alessandro Garbisi to restore the World Cup partnership with Paolo Garbisi.
South Africa-born back-rower Ross Vintcent, who plays for Exeter, has been promoted from the Italy Under-20s with a chance to debut.
Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Calvin Nash, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart McCloskey, James Lowe, Jack Crowley, Craig Casey; Jack Conan, Caelan Doris (captain), Ryan Baird, James Ryan, Joe McCarthy, Finlay Bealham, Dan Sheehan, Andrew Porter. Reserves: Ronan Kelleher, Jeremy Loughman, Tom O’Toole, Iain Henderson, Josh van der Flier, Jamison Gibson-Park, Harry Byrne, Jordan Larmour.
Italy: Ange Capuozzo, Lorenzo Pani, Juan Ignacio Brex, Tommaso Menoncello, Monty Ioane, Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney; Michele Lamaro (captain), Manuel Zuliani, Alessandro Izekor, Federico Ruzza, Niccolo Cannone, Pietro Ceccarelli, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Danilo Fischetti. Reserves: Giacomo Nicotera, Mirco Spagnolo, Giosuè Zilocchi, Andrea Zambonin, Ross Vintcent, Martin Page-Relo, Tommaso Allan, Federico Mori.
AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Associated Press)