x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Bergamasco returns to the flank for Ireland clash

The Italy head coach Nick Mallett makes five changes to his starting line-up for Sunday's Six Nations encounter with Ireland at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome.

The Italy head coach Nick Mallett has made five changes to his starting line-up for Sunday's Six Nations encounter with Ireland at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome. The Calvisano scrum-half Paul Griffen returns to the side after a 16-month absence and will replace Mauro Bergamasco, who will return to flanker. Mallett's experiment of playing Bergamasco at scrum-half in the 36-11 defeat to England in their Six Nations opener last week failed and the Italy coach has shifted the Stade Francais player to his regular position on the flank. Calvisano's Luke McLean comes in at fly-half for the injured Andrea Marcato who has failed to recover from a neck injury picked up against England. The Rovigo lock Tommaso Reato will replace Marco Bortolami, who has failed to recover from a knee injury also sustained in the loss at Twickenham. Matteo Pratichetti has been included in Mallett's starting XV while Gonzalo Garcia and Josh Sole have been dropped to the bench. Mallett has included the uncapped Rovigo player Andrea Bacchetti in his squad.

A Masi (Biarritz); K Robertson (Viadana), G Canale (Clermont-Auvergne), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Francais), M Pratichetti (Calvisano); L McLean (Calvisano), P Griffen (Calvisano); S Perugini (Toulouse), F Ongaro (Saracens), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester), S Dellape (Toulon), T Reato (Rovigo), A Zanni (Calvisano), Mauro Bergamasco (Stade Francais), S Parisse (Stade Francais, captain). Replacements: C Festuccia (Racing Metro Paris), C Nieto (Gloucester), CA Del Fava (Ulster), J Sole (Viadana), G Toniolatti (Capitolina), G Garcia (Calvisano), A Bacchetti (Rovigo). *PA Sport