Will Connors and Hugo Keenan will make their Ireland debuts in Saturday's Guinness Six Nations clash against Italy at the Aviva Stadium (3.30pm).

The Leinster pair, both 24, have impressed coach Andy Farrell with Connors starting in the back row at openside, while Keenan is on the left wing.

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"We do definitely [believe they are ready]," Farrell said. 

"Obviously, we've had a few days together to see how they fit into the new systems and the pressures of international rugby, being able to adapt, to new team-mates etc.

"Will has been involved with us before and he’s had seven months to think about that and he’s come back in pretty good form so we are very excited about seeing him.

"Hugo has had a great start after lockdown, he’s an exciting young player in a variety of ways and they are both ready to go."

The team have not been in action since the competition was suspended in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Ireland's last outing was a comprehensive 24-12 loss to England in Twickenham but having opened with wins over Scotland and Wales, the destiny of the title is still in their hands with a 10-point haul from Saturday's game and the following weekend’s trip to Paris enough to reclaim the Six Nations.

Hooker Ed Byrne and scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park, both also Leinster, are poised for the international bows off the bench. 

The half-backs are, as expected, Conor Murray and captain Johnny Sexton

Outside them, in-from duo Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose, player of the year, form the centre partnership.

With Jordan Larmour out due to a dislocated shoulder, Jacob Stockdale switches to full-back and Keenan gets a start on the left wing with Andrew Conway on the right. 

Regular starters Tadhg Furlong and Iain Henderson were ruled out through injury and suspension, respectively.

Ronan Kelleher and Quinn Roux were also not considered due to injury. 

That means Andrew Porter starts at tight-head prop with Cian Healy on the other side; Rob Herring starts at hooker. 

Tadhg Beirne comes in for Henderson and packs down in the second row alongside James Ryan. 

Connors forms a back row partnership with Caelan Doris and CJ Stander at number 8.  

Robbie Henshaw and Ross Byrne are the replacement backs alongside Gibson-Park, while Connacht trio Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane and Munster's Peter O'Mahony cover the forwards. 

Ireland: Jacob Stockdale, Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Hugo Keenan, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Caelan Doris, Will Connors, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Peter O'Mahony, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Robbie Henshaw. 

Follow Ireland v Italy (3.30pm Saturday) with our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app or listen to live commentary on Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1. Follow Ireland v Italy in the Women's Six Nations (6.30pm) live on RTÉ2 and on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.