Ireland return to Six Nations action this Saturday when they travel to Rome to take on Italy in round three of the competition. First-placed Ireland will be looking to extend their unbeaten run in this year's Six Nations and maintain their place at the top of the table. With Scotland on ten points as well, being the first team out this weekend Ireland will need the bonus point to win to guarantee their place at the top of that table. We have all the information on how to watch Ireland v Italy right here, as well as the latest team news and a form guide for what should be an exciting Saturday in Rome.
When is Ireland v Italy?
Ireland take on Italy in the Stade Olimpico Rome this Saturday the 25th of February at 14:15 Irish time.
How to watch Ireland v Italy?
Ireland v Italy is being broadcast live on RTE 2, the pre-game build-up begins at 13:30, forty-five minutes ahead of kick-off at 14:15.
Ireland are tied on points with Scotland at the top of the table at ten points a piece. They come into this game hot off the back of two bonus point Six Nations wins, against Wales and more recently against France in the Aviva. Based on that and their position as the number one team in the world rugby rankings Ireland are favourites for the encounter in Rome.
The most recent game against France saw Andy Farrell's men win by 12 points in what was a close contest throughout, despite what the scoreline might suggest. The result saw Ireland extend their home unbeaten run to 13 games - a new record for an Irish rugby side.
The game which had been coined as one of the games of the season was somewhat overshadowed by controversy surrounding Wayne Barnes' refereeing, including the Uini Antonio tackle that saw him banned for three games and a questionable James Lowe try the French weren't happy about.
Despite the controversy, it still provided memorable moments and Ireland performed well all around to overcome a very competent French side scoring some brilliant back's tries in the process with Lowe, Ringrose and Keenan all going over, including this beauty.
Any excuse to watch this again! 😍#TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/VazXIyCnos
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 15, 2023
On the Italian side, they started the tournament relatively well with just a five-point loss to France, but the Azzurri simply couldn't keep up with England in round two where they lost 31-14. They started the game slowly going into halftime scoreless and nineteen points down, however, a spirited second-half performance did see them reclaim two converted tries.
That losing bonus point from round one is all that's separating them and last place Wales. If they want to avoid the wooden spoon this year they'll likely need more performances that at the very minimum gain bonus points.
The fixture last year saw Ireland hammer Italy 57-6 in a frankly uncompetitive encounter. However, with Italy playing better rugby this year and hungry to stay off the bottom of the table while Ireland are resting key players we may be treated to a more competitive encounter.
Andy Farrell has named a much-changed team to face Italy on Saturday. With Johnny Sexton ruled out through injury Ross Byrne starts in out half with Craig Casey paired beside him in scrumhalf, while Jack Conan and Bundi Aki also make their way into the starting lineup. Leinster lock James Ryan is set to captain the side while hooker Ronan Kelleher starts ahead of his Leinster colleague Dan Sheehan who was named on the bench. The team in full is below.
Our line up for Rome! 💪#TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 23, 2023
For the home side, coach Kieran Crowley has named three changes to his side that took on England two weeks ago. Michele Lamaro will captain the side while out half Paolo Gabrisi will start in place of Tommaso Allan. Pierre Bruno and Simone Ferrari also come into the starting lineup. The team in full is below.
Il Capo Allenatore Kieran #Crowley ha annunciato la formazione del 3° match del Guinness Six Nations 2023 ➡ https://t.co/aCUUQhnjtn
📍 Stadio Olimpico, Roma
🏉 Sabato 25/2, kick off ore 15.15
📺 @SkySport 1 ▪ @NOW▪ @TV8it pic.twitter.com/XNs30DaMrD
— Italrugby (@Federugby) February 23, 2023
That's all the info you need on how to watch Ireland v Italy in the Six Nations this Saturday.
SEE ALSO: The Shitshow That Was Italy 2013 - In The Words Of Sexton, BOD, And Sean O'Brien