Cian Healy and Donnacha Ryan selected for Italy clash – 6 Nations

Cian Healy and Donnacha Ryan have both been named in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland team to take on Italy in Saturday’s Six Nations clash at the Stadio Olimpico.

Healy comes in to make his first Six Nations start since the Championship-winning game against Scotland in Murrayfield two years ago.

Jack McGrath is dropped to the replacements to make way for his Leinster team-mate.

Donncha Ryan has recovered from a knee injury and replaces Iain Henderson who drops out of the matchday 23 through injury.

Tommy Bowe has been released from the Ireland squad for Ulster’s Pro12 clash with Edinburgh, as a result Craig Gilroy comes in on the bench.

Neither Johnny Sexton or Peter O’Mahony have been risked, but both should be available for the game with France in two-weeks time.

Sexton has all but recovered from a calf injury, while O’Mahony is still trying to shake off a hamstring issue. Andrew Trimble also misses out as he continues to recover from a groin injury.

Italian boss Connor O’Shea has the inside line on Ireland according to Joe Schmidt.

Meanwhile Italy have made four changes to their team with lock Andries Van Schalkwyk and flanker Simone Favaro set to start after they missed out the opener against Wales.

Coach Conor O’Shea, whose team were trounced 33-7 by Wales in Rome on Sunday, will also start Angelo Esposito on the right wing with Giulio Bisegni dropping out of the matchday squad.

Leonardo Ghiraldini returns at hooker in place of Ornel Gega and will partner Andrea Lovotti and veteran Lorenzo Cittadini in the front row.

Maxime Mbanda, who came on as openside flanker for Simone Favaro against Wales, will start on the blindside against Ireland, leaving Abraham Steyn on the bench.

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

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

Italy: E Padovani, A Esposito, T Benvenuti, L Mclean, G Venditti, C Canna, E Gori, S Parisse, S Favaro, M Mbanda, A Van Schalkwyk, M Fuser, L Cittadini, L Ghiraldini, A Lovotti.

Replacements: O Gega, S Panico, D Chistolini, G Biagi, A Steyn, G Bronzini, T Allan, M Campagnaro.

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