Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has made four changes in the pack for Saturday’s (kick-off 2.15pm) NatWest Six Nations clash with Italy at the Aviva Stadium, with Jordan Larmour set to make his debut off the bench.

Dan Leavy and Jack Conan come in for their first starts in the competition, while Jack McGrath and Devin Toner are recalled to the starting XV.

On the replacements bench, Leinster sensation Jordan Larmour is primed for his first taste of international action, while Joey Carbery retains his place in the matchday 23.

With Van der Flier ruled out for the remainder of the Six Nations, his number seven jersey is taken by provincial team-mate Leavy, who impressed upon his introduction at the Stade de France.

In winning his sixth cap, Leavy will make just his second start for his country. His first, in the 50-22 win over Japan last June saw the Leinster man bag two tries.

The physically imposing Conan comes in for CJ Stander at number 8 after the Munster man put in another massive shift against France, carrying 24 times in making 40 hard-won metres.

Speaking at today's announcement, coach Schmidt praised Leavy's impact at the Stade de France.

"You want guys to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and we think he did that," he said.

"Dan got straight into the game. Got off the line and defended superbly."

On Jack Conan getting his chance, Schmidt added: "It's an opportunity to freshen the side up.

"What’s visible with Jack is his ability to accelerate with the ball. He brings a real physicality to his defence and his lineout work has been continually improving.

"Jack was a really impressive performer in Japan and in the Autumn internationals in the window he got." 

Peter O’Mahony completes the back row, while at the front of the scrum, Jack McGrath edges out Cian Healy at loosehead.

The pair have been regularly rotated and Healy will look to make an impact if called upon in the second half. McGrath is joined by captain Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong at the coal face.

In the second row, Iain Henderson will be partnered this week by Devin Toner, with Quinn Roux coming in for James Ryan on the bench, despite the Leinster man's highly creditable performance against Les Bleus. Toner will win his 55th cap against the Italians.

The backline remains unchanged. Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton is the half-back partnership, with a back three comprising of Rob Kearney, Keith Earls and Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale.

Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki are again selected in midfield and will be hoping to have more success at picking apart the Italian defence.

The replacements bench sees quite a reshuffle in personnel.

Joe Schmidt talks to Andrew Porter during an Ireland training session

Larmour is likely to continue his incredible season with his first Irish cap if he gets the call, while prop Andrew Porter is also poised for his first taste of the Six Nations after edging out John Ryan.

On what Larmour might bring on Saturday, his head coach said: "I expect Jordan to provide what he has been doing at provincial games. Away from the ball he has a super work-rate. We know if we are under pressure, he can bring that work-rate.

"There's never a perfect situation [to bring him in]. You don't place a player and expect him to be looked after. Hopefully he brings the exciting parts of his game."

Seán Cronin is again preferred to Ulster’s Rob Herring as cover at hooker.

Stander provides cover for the backrow positions, while Connacht scrum-half Kieran Marmion, who failed to make the cut for Paris, replaces Luke McGrath, with the Leinster man dropping out of the squad altogether.

Joey Carbery is in line to win his eight cap on Saturday afternoon. The versatile back fractured his left wrist in the Autumn win over Fiji, and has played just 22 minutes of competitive rugby since November.

Ireland team v Italy: Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Jack McGrath, Rory Best (captain), Tadhg Furlong; Iain Henderson, Devin Toner; Peter O’Mahony, Dan Leavy, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, CJ Stander, Kieran Marmion, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour.

Follow our live blog of Ireland v Italy (2.15pm kick-off) on RTÉ Online and the RTÉ News Now App, or listen to commentary from Michael Corcoran and Donal Lenihan on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.