McFadden will makes his first start in the unfamiliar position of right wing against Italy
Declan Kidney has responded to Ireland's backline injury crisis by giving Fergus McFadden his debut on the wing with Luke Fitzgerald shifted to full-back for the RBS 6 Nations match against Italy.
McFadden has generally been employed as a centre by Leinster but his versatility has earned him a slot on the right wing in the absence of the likes of Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble, Rob Kearney, Shane Horgan and Geordan Murphy.
Fitzgerald, who has started nearly all his Ireland matches on the wing, is given the nod at full-back ahead of specialist Gavin Duffy while Keith Earls completes the back three.
The other change from the backline that lost to New Zealand in the autumn sees Tomas O'Leary come in at scrum-half for Eoin Reddan with Leinster playmakers Jonathan Sexton, Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy all retaining their slots.
In the pack, Munster lock Paul O'Connell returns to the team after missing the autumn internationals through a groin injury while hooker Rory Best and prop Mike Ross start in the front-row.
In the absence of Jamie Heaslip and Stephen Ferris, the in-form Sean O'Brien gets his first Six Nations start in the No.8 jersey alongside David Wallace and Denis Leamy.
15 - Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)
14 - Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
13 - Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) Captain
12 - Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
11 - Keith Earls (Thomond/Munster)
10 - Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
9 - Tomas O'Leary (Dolphin/Munster)
1 - Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
2 - Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
3 - Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
4 - Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
5 - Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
6 - Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster)
7 - David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster)
8 - Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.