Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan has recalled Leinster centre Gordon D'Arcy to the side for Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash against Italy at the Stadio Flaminio.
D'Arcy - last year's player of the championship - missed the November internationals through injury but has reclaimed his place in the line-up and will resume his midfield partnership with skipper Brian O'Driscoll.
Girvan Dempsey makes way for D'Arcy - the Leinster full-back must settle for a place on the bench - while Leicester star Geordan Murphy takes the number 15 jersey with Shane Horgan reverting to the wing.
The second change to the team who defeated Argentina in the autumn sees Wasps openside Johnny O'Connor lose out to in-form Munster back row Denis Leamy, who will win his second cap on Sunday.
Ireland team to face Italy at the Stadio Flaminio in the RBS 6 Nations on Sunday:
G Murphy (Leicester), S Horgan (Leinster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), D Hickie (Leinster), R O'Gara (Munster), P Stringer (Munster), R Corrigan (Leinster), S Byrne (Leinster), J Hayes (Munster), M O'Kelly (Leinster), P O'Connell (Munster), S Easterby (Llanelli), D Leamy (Munster), A Foley (Munster).
Replacements: F Sheahan (Munster), M Horan (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), E Miller (Leinster), G Easterby (Leinster), D Humphreys (Ulster), G Dempsey (Leinster).
The 2017 RBS 6 Nations was watched by record numbers of fans
29 March 2017, 12:25pm
After an enthralling RBS 6 Nations Championship of twists, turns, and no small amount of drama on the last day, figures show the RBS 6 Nations is going from strength to strength, year on year, with no sign of slowing down.