The Ireland coaching group have made seven changes to the side that started against France in round 2 of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship.

Ryan Baird and Craig Casey are in line for their first international caps in Stadio Olimpico on Saturday afternoon.

Johnny Sexton returns to captain the side and partners Jamison Gibson-Park in the half-backs.

Robbie Henshaw, who earns his 50th cap for Ireland, will again partner Garry Ringrose in the midfield. Henshaw made his Ireland debut against USA on the 2013 Summer Tour, a few days before his 20th birthday.

Hugo Keenan retains the number 15 jersey with James Lowe on the left wing and Jordan Larmour coming in on the right hand side.

A new front row combination of Dave Kilcoyne, Rónan Kelleher and Tadhg Furlong is set to start.

James Ryan returns to the second row to partner  Iain Henderson.

Tadhg Beirne shifts to the backrow filling the blindside role with Will Connors at openside and CJ Stander at No 8.

The replacements for the weekend are Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Jack Conan, Billy Burns, Keith Earls and the uncapped duo of Baird and Casey

Ireland Team v Italy:

Player/Club/Province/Caps –

15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 8 caps
14. Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 26 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 49 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 4 caps
10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 96 caps CAPTAIN
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster) 7 caps
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 40 caps
2. Rónan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 8 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 46 caps
4. Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 60 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 33 caps
6. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 19 caps
7. Will Connors (Leinster/UCD) 7 caps
8. CJ Stander (Munster/Shannon) 48 caps

Replacements

16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 18 caps
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 106 caps
18. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps
19. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) uncapped
20. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 17 caps
21. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) uncapped
22. Billy Burns (Ulster) 5 caps
23. Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 90 caps