Italy head coach Franco Smith has named an unchanged side for Ireland's Six Nations visit to Rome's Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.

Young half-back pair Stephen Varney, 19, and Paolo Garbisi, 20, are again entrusted by Smith, with Juan Ignacio Brex earning his third cap at centre alongside Carlo Canna, who will reach a half century of appearances for the Azzurri.

There are four changes among the replacements, with Benetton pair Callum Braley - who has not played for the Azzurri since a Six Nations defeat in Dublin last October - and Cherif Traore restored to the bench, in addition to Zebre duo Maxime Mbanda and Mattia Bellini.

Italy showing green shoots as Ireland prepare for Rome

Italy have lost 29 Six Nations matches in a row stretching back to a win over Scotland in 2015 and firm favourites to pick up a sixth successive wooden spoon in this year's competition.

Smith, though, sees progression in his young side.

"We worked a lot on ourselves focusing on our game plan," Smith told a news conference on Thursday after keeping faith with the XV beaten 41-18 by England at Twickenham.

"Against Ireland we aim to show the same attitude we showed in the last match with the aim of taking another step forward in the growth path."

Andy Farrell named his Ireland side earlier on Thursday, making seven changes from the home defeat to France on 14 February.

Italy team: Jacopo Trulla; Luca Sperandio, Juan Ignacio Brex, Carlo Canna, Montanna Ioane; Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney; Michele Lamaro, Johan Meyer, Sebastian Negri, David Sisi, Marco Lazzaroni, Marco Riccioni, Luca Bigi, Andrea Lovotti.

Replacements: Gianmarco Lucchesi, Cherif Traore, Giosuè Zilocchi, Niccolò Cannone, Maxime Mbanda, Callum Braley, Federico Mori, Mattia Bellini.