February 9, 2017 / 5:58 PM / 2 years ago

Parisse passed fit as Italy make changes for Ireland clash

Britain Rugby Union - RBS Six Nations Media Launch - The Hurlingham Club, Ranelagh Gardens, London - 25/1/17 Italy Head Coach Conor O'Shea and Captain Sergio Parisse pose with the RBS Six Nations Trophy during the RBS Six Nations Media Launch Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic

ROME (Reuters) - Italy captain Sergio Parisse has been passed fit for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Ireland in Rome, but coach Conor O’Shea has made four changes to the team as they look to get their first points on the board.

Parisse had been a doubt after picking up a neck injury in Italy’s opener — a 33-7 home defeat by Wales last weekend — but has been given the green light to face Joe Schmidt’s side.

Ireland are also looking for their first win of the campaign after Saturday’s 27-22 defeat by Scotland at Murrayfield.

O’Shea has brought experienced hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini into the front row at the expense of Ornel Gega, while Dries van Schalkwyk will start in the second row alongside Marco Fuser, taking the place of George Biagi.

Simone Favaro has also passed a fitness test and will start. The Glasgow Warriors openside flanker missed Italy’s opener with shoulder and ankle injuries, and joins right wing Angelo Esposito — named ahead of Giulio Bisegni — in the starting lineup.

Italy: 15 Edoardo Padovani; 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Luke McLean, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti; 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Edoardo Gori; 1 Andrea Lovotti. 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 4 Marco Fuser; 5 Dries van Schalkwyk, 6 Maxime Mbanda; 7 Simone Favaro, 8 Sergio Parisse (capt.)

Replacements: 16 Ornel Gega, 17 Sami Panico, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 George Biagi, 20 Abraham Steyn, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Michele Campagnaro

Reporting by Ed Dove; Editing by Toby Davis

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