Ireland enter round three of the Guinness Six Nations in rude health.

Traditionally slow starters in the championship, the team have begun with a perfect 10 points from 10, following up a comprehensive victory over Wales with a statement win over France.

Scotland, Ireland's opponents in round four, have also coupled back-to-back wins and sit in second place on points difference.

But Andy Farrell's focus is fully on Italy who, despite giving France a scare in the opening match, are nought from two.

Here's all you need to know about Saturday's match.


Italy v Ireland is live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, with coverage getting under way from 1.30pm


RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport will have live commentary from Stadio Olimpico.


Follow a live blog on and the RTÉ News App followed by a match report, player ratings and post-match reaction.


Rome is set to see sunny intervals during the match, with temperatures around 18C with a 13% chance of rain.

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It's the 34th meeting of the teams and Italy have won four times and lost the rest. Their last, and only championship victory, came exactly a decade ago when the 22-15 scoreline in Rome signalled the end of the Declan Kidney era.

The last three Six Nations results make grim reading for the Azzurri with Ireland winning by 51, 38 and 33 points, respectively.

A recent resurgence, which saw Kieran Crowley's side beat Wales and Australia, suggests that on their day they can cause Ireland problems.

The problems, however, are Italy's, with Ireland's form thoroughly justifying their world number one rank.

They've beaten all the top tier nations in the last 12 months and looked good doing it.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Ireland's victories is how deep they've had to dive to achieve it.

Currently on the injured list are Tadhg Furlong, Johnny Sexton, Jamison Gibson-Park, Tadhg Beirne, and Robbie Henshaw but they still start as 23-point favourites.

In team news, Farrell had made two enforced and four tactical changes to the side that outscored France four tries to one in the 31-19 win, before Garry Ringrose was ruled out on Friday.

Ross Byrne, making his first Six Nations start, and Iain Henderson start instead of Sexton and Beirne, while Bundee Aki, Craig Casey, Ronan Kelleher and Jack Conan come in for Stuart McCloskey, Conor Murray, Rob Herring and Peter O'Mahony.

However, McCloskey's place in the XV was subsequently restored after Ringrose's late withdrawal, with Jimmy O'Brien added to the replacements.

Italy showed in patches against England in the 31-14 loss, with Toulouse full-back Ange Capuozzo the main danger man.

Crowley is able to welcome back out-half Paolo Garbisi, Pierre Bruno and Simone Ferrari to his line-up.

Italy: Ange Capuozzo; Edoardo Padovani, Juan Ignacio Brex, Tommaso Menoncello, Pierre Bruno; Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney; Danilo Fischetti, Giacomo Nicotera, Simone Ferrari; Niccolò Cannone, Federico Ruzza; Sebastian Negri, Michele Lamaro, Lorenzo Cannone.

Replacements: Luca Bigi, Federico Zani, Marco Riccioni, Edoardo Iachizzi, Giovanni Pettinelli, Alessandro Fusco, Luca Morisi, Tommaso Allan.

Ireland: Hugo Keenan; James Lowe, Bundee Aki, Stuart McCloskey, Mack Hansen; Ross Byrne, Craig Casey; Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, Finlay Bealham; Iain Henderson, James Ryan (capt); Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Dave Kilcoyne, Tom O'Toole, Ryan Baird, Peter O'Mahony, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, Jimmy O'Brien.


Ireland 57-6 Italy - Aviva Stadium (27 February 2022, Six Nations)
Italy 10-48 Ireland - Stadio Olimpico (27 February 2021, Six Nations)
Ireland 50-17 Italy - Aviva Stadium (24 October 2020, Six Nations)

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)

AR: Wayne Barnes (RFU)
AR: Craig Evans (WRU)
TMO: Marius Jonker (SARU)

Kieran Crowley (Italy head coach): "We will face Ireland aware of what we did against France and England with the aim of improving in some areas that will make us more competitive. It will be a tough game against the number one team in the world and we too can't wait to face them."

Andy Farrell: (Ireland head coach): "The reality is this is our third game of the competition and we expect it to be our best performance of the competition. That's how it should be and that’s what we are aiming for."

Italy v Ireland is followed by the meeting of Wales and England in Cardiff from 4.45pm on Saturday evening.

On Sunday, France host Scotland in Paris (live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player) from 2.30pm.