Italy's disrupted build-up to their RBS 6 Nations opener against Ireland has improved dramatically with John Kirwan's preferred side having been given the all-clear to start the match.
Eight of the Azzurri squad - including skipper Marco Bortolami - were unable to train at some point in the week because of 'flu, while hooker Fabio Ongaro and scrum-half Paul Griffen were subject to late fitness tests.
But everyone was available for Saturday's final run-out at the Stadio Flaminio with Ongaro set to feature in the front row - understudy Giorgio Intoppa is included among the substitutes - and Griffen able to take his place on the bench.
Coach Kirwan said: ''Ongaro passed his final fitness test this morning. He trained yesterday and we just needed to see how he reacted to that and he looked good.
''Paul has come through his fitness test as well, so he's fine. We had eight out with the flu on Wednesday and a couple of niggling injuries so we're pretty happy with the way things have worked out this morning.''
It was imperative Italy can begin the match with their strongest available line-up given the challenge expected from tournament favourites Ireland.
Scotland and Wales have tasted defeat in Rome on the opening day of the championship in previous seasons but Eddie O'Sullivan's men have been touted as Grand Slam material for good reason.
They enjoy no clear advantage up-front but an embarrassment of riches behind the scrum should see them make a winning start to the Six Nations - should the likes of Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy see enough ball.
Kirwan remains bullish about his side's chances, however, and cites the back-row battle as an evenly-matched contest.
He said: ''The Irish start as favourites. They have some of the best players in the world. But when I was young my dad always said opponents have two arms and two legs like anyone else, so we'll take that attitude into the game.
''They have a well-balanced side. Their loose-forward trio play well together but I also rate our back row, so I'm looking forward to the game.''
The match is a sell-out with Kirwan insisting the majority of tickets have been bought by the Italian public, giving the former All Black winger hope the Azzurri will be helped by a vociferous home support.
He said: ''The game is at home and the fact that it should be mostly Italians in the crowd is a real positive for us. We want to use that as an advantage."
Peter O'Mahony was named man of the match against England last month
21 April 2017, 7:22pm
Peter O'Mahony's performance in the RBS 6 Nations finale for Ireland against England was crucial to his selection for the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday, Ireland and Lions defence coach Andy Farrell has revealed.