Following their 33-7 drubbing at the hands of Wales last weekend, Conor O’Shea has made four changes to the Italian side to face Ireland this weekend.
Three of the changes come in the pack, where Simone Favaro has been named at openside with Maxime Mbanda moving into the number six shirt. Andries van Schalkwyk has been preferred in the second row to George Biagi and Leonardo Ghiraldini returned at hooker.
O’Shea’s final change sees Angelo Esposito coming in on the right wing ahead of Giulio Bisegni.
Despite these changes, Italy are not expected to trouble Ireland, who will no doubt be looking to bounce back from their opening round defeat to Scotland in Murrayfield. Nevertheless, O’Shea will be wanting his side to build on their first-half display against Wales, when the Azzurri took a 7-3 lead into the changing rooms.
Indeed, during the opening forty minutes, the Italians were aggressive in defence and while they were largely stagnant in attack, O’Shea’s team did show some nice touches at times.
— Italrugby (@Federugby) February 9, 2017
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
On this week’s edition of The Oval Office podcast, we talk about the Irish back row with Niall Ronan and get the Scottish perspective from The Scrum Magazine’s David Arnott.