Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan admits her side will take a step into the unknown when they tackle Italy with four new caps in their RBS 6 Nations opener.
Coach Kevin West hands first starts to hooker Chris Fanning, second-rower Mary Louise Reilly and wingers Nora Stapleton and Alison Miller.
Despite the debutants, West’s side is packed with experience and prop Coghlan will earn her 49th cap against the Azzurri, while half-back duo Tania Rosser and Joanne O’Sullivan hold over 90 caps between them.
"With Italy you don't know from one year to the other what their game plan will be because they're further away, without much press and there’s not a lot of news about their club games,” said Coghlan. “They are the unknown."
Ireland team to face Italy:
15. Niamh Briggs (Clonmel - Munster)
14. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere - Leinster)
13. Grace Davitt (Blackrock - Leinster)
12. Shannon Houston (Blackrock - Leinster)
11. Alison Miller (Portlaoise - Connacht)
10. Joanne O'Sullivan (Richmond - Exile)
9. Tania Rosser (Blackrock - Leinster)
1. Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians - Leinster)
2. Chris Fanning (Highfield - Munster)
3. Emer McManamly (Blackrock - Leinster)
4. Kate O'Loughlin (Clonmel - Munster)
5. Marie Louise Reilly (Navan - Leinster)
6. Carol Staunton (Galwegians - Connacht)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol - Connacht)
8. Joy Neville (UL Bohemians - Munster)
16. Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians - Munster)
17. Lauren Day (Cooke - Ulster)
18. Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemians - Leinster)
19. Louise Austin (UL Bohemians - Munster)
20. Louise Beamish (UL Bohemians - Munster)
21. Helen Brosnan (Highfield - Munster)
22. Eliza Downey (Cooke - Ulster)