Mallett names unchanged side for Ireland clash.
Italy coach Nick Mallett keeps faith with the side that ended the Azzurri's losing streak against Samoa after announcing an unchanged side to take on Ireland in their RBS 6 Nations opener.
The24-6 victory against the Pacific Islanders in November halted a 13-game winless run following an encouraging performance against New Zealand in Milan.
In the absence of influential captain Sergio Parisse, Treviso hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini takes the captain’s armband.
Fly-half Craig Gower, who previously played rugby league for Australia, makes his Six Nations debut against the reigning champions forming a partnership with scrum-half Tito Tebaldi.
Former Gloucester lock Marco Bortolami comes back to the bench along with centre Andrea Masi who missed the November Tests through injury.
One player who won’t be featuring is full-back Andrea Marcato who coach Nick Mallett did not include in the 24-man squad.
Italy: Luke McLean; Kaine Robertson, Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Mirco Bergamasco; Craig Gower, Tito Tebaldi; Salvatore Perugini, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Martin Castrogiovanni; Carlo Antonio Del Fava, Quintin Geldenhuys; Josh Sole, Mauro Bergamasco, Alessandro Zanni
Replacements: Fabio Ongaro, Matias Aguero, Marco Bortolami, Paul Derbyshire, Simon Piccone, Riccardo Bocchino, Andrea Masi