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Six Nations: Ireland make six changes for Italy clash as Caelan Doris captains side for first time

Peter O'Mahony, Bundee Aki, Jamison Gibson-Park, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Josh van der Flier drop out of Ireland starting XV to face Italy on Sunday (3pm kick-off); Stuart McCloskey, Craig Casey, Finlay Bealham, James Ryan, Ryan Baird, Jack Conan come in; Caelan Doris named captain

18 March 2023; Caelan Doris
Image: Caelan Doris will captain Ireland in the Six Nations vs Italy on Sunday

Ireland have made six changes to their side to face Italy in Round 2 of the Six Nations, as back-row Caelan Doris captains the side for the first time.

Andy Farrell's Ireland began the championship with a sensational 38-17 victory away to France in Marseille last Friday, but a number of key performers will not play this weekend in Dublin.

Captain and flanker Peter O'Mahony, centre Bundee Aki, scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park, tighthead Tadhg Furlong, lock Tadhg Beirne and openside Josh van der Flier drop out of the starting XV, with only Gibson-Park and Van der Flier named among the replacements.

In their places come Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey, Munster scrum-half Craig Casey, Connacht tighthead Finlay Bealham, Leinster second-row James Ryan and back-row duo Ryan Baird and Jack Conan.

Craig casey
Image: Scrum-half Craig Casey comes in to start as one of six Ireland changes

Having all impressed in France, young trio Joe McCarthy, Jack Crowley and Calvin Nash each start again, with the latter shaking off a dead-leg to do so.

The back-three remains the same as full-back Hugo Keenan and left wing James Lowe combine with Nash, while Robbie Henshaw retains his place at outside-centre, with Garry Ringrose (shoulder) still not fit.

Casey partners Crowley in an all-Munster half-back pairing, while loosehead Andrew Porter and hooker Dan Sheehan make up the front-row unit alongside Bealham.

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McCarthy partners Ryan in the second-row, while the back-row sees Doris move from No 8 to openside, Conan come in to start at No 8 and Baird replace O'Mahony at blindside.

Stuart McCloskey
Image: Stuart McCloskey has been named to start at inside-centre, replacing Bundee Aki

Among the replacements, loosehead Jeremy Loughman, tighthead Tom O'Toole and lock Iain Henderson are all in line to make their first appearances of the tournament, with Ronan Kelleher again named as hooker cover.

Harry Byrne replaces Leinster team-mate Ciaran Frawley as out-half cover, while Jordan Larmour is drafted in as a back-three replacement.

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 James Lowe, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Craig Casey; 1 Andrew Porter, 2 Dan Sheehan, 3 Finlay Bealham, 4 Joe McCarthy, 5 James Ryan, 6 Ryan Baird, 7 Caelan Doris (c), 8 Jack Conan.

Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Tom O'Toole, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Harry Byrne, 23 Jordan Larmour.

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Sky Sports News' James Cole and digital journalist Megan Wellens preview the second round of fixtures in the Six Nations

Capuozzo returns for Italy as Negri, Cannone ruled out

Ange Capuozzo returns to the Italy team which takes on Ireland in Dublin on Sunday, with four changes from the side that lost to England last weekend.

Capuozzo had been named in the side to face England but withdrew due to illness, and has been selected at full-back with Tommaso Allan dropping to the bench.

Ange Capuozzo
Image: Ange Capuozzo returns for Italy at full-back, after illness kept him out vs England last week

Head coach Gonzalo Quesada was forced into another change after the rib injury to flanker Sebastian Negri, with Alessandro Izekor starting after coming off the bench for his first cap in the 27-24 defeat to England.

Lorenzo Cannone is also out with a knee injury, which sees captain Michele Lamaro moving to No 8 and Manuel Zuliani into the starting side.

The other change has Stephen Varney back in at scrum-half in place of Alessandro Garbisi who started last weekend.

Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Lorenzo Pani, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney; 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 5 Federico Ruzza, 6 Alessandro Izekor, 7 Manuel Zuliani, 8 Michele Lamaro,

Replacements: 16 Giacomo Nicotera, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Giosue Zilocchi, 19 Andrea Zambonin, 20 Ross Vintcent, 21 Martin Page Relo, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Federico Mori

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