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Ireland team to face Italy announced as Schmidt makes two changes

Ireland team to face Italy announced as Schmidt makes two changes

Ireland manager Joe Schmidt has announced the XV that will take on Italy in Rome this Saturday.

Cian Healy has been rewarded for his return to form in recent months with a start ahead of his Leinster team-mate Jack McGrath, while Donnacha Ryan has been restored to the second-row.

Iain Henderson has been dropped from the matchday squad completely, with Schmidt stating that the Ulster man has a hamstring knock. Connacht's Ultan Dilane keeps his place on the bench.

Tommy Bowe is also left out, which means that Craig Gilroy is in line to win his 10th cap.

Ireland got off to a poor start in this season's Six Nations with a 27-22 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Schmidt's side can't afford any mistakes this weekend as they take on an Italy outfit managed by Irishman Conor O'Shea.

The Italians were soundly beaten at home to Wales last Sunday in a 7-33 defeat.

This is the Ireland team named to take on Italy in Saturday's clash, which kicks off at 2.25pm Irish time:

Ireland team to face Italy – R Kearney; K Earls, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, S Zebo; P Jackson, C Murray; C Healy, R Best (capt), T Furlong; D Toner, D Ryan; CJ Stander, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

Reps: N Scannell, J McGrath, J Ryan, U Dillane, J Van der Flier, K Marmion, I Keatley, C Gilroy.

Italy lineout as follows: