2020 Six Nations Championship – Ireland vs Italy Preview & Prediction

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THE FACTS

When is Ireland vs Italy taking place? Saturday 24th October, 2020 – 15:00

Where is Ireland vs Italy taking place? Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Where can I get tickets for Ireland vs Italy? This match will be played without spectators

What channel is Ireland vs Italy on? BBC 1 or ITV 1

Where can I stream Ireland vs Italy? Ireland vs Italy can be streamed via BBC iPlayer/ITV Player

THE TEAM NEWS

IRELAND

  • Ireland will be aiming to make the most of their seven month long game-in-hand over England and France at the top of the table with this winnable fixture at home to Italy.
  • The good news Ireland fans were hoping for was confirmed as captain Johnny Sexton has recovered form injury in time to start this fourth 2020 Six Nations fixture at fly-half.
  • Head coach Andy Farrell continues to drag Ireland out of the Joe Schmidt era by handing debuts to two Leinster players, Hugo Keenan and Will Connors, while Jamison Gibson-Park will hope for his first cap from a strong bench.

Starting line-up: 15 Jacob Stockdale, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Hugo Keenan, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Will Connors, 6 Caelan Doris, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Cian Healy

Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Peter O’Mahony, 21 Jamison Gibson Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Robbie Henshaw

ITALY

  • Italy had lost all three of their Six Nations matches before the outset of covid-19 in Europe devastated their country but coach Franco Smith had seen some promise from his young squad, particularly away to joint-leaders France.
  • It has been a big month for debutante Paolo Garbisi who starts as fly-half here alongside Zebre teammate Marcello Violi as part of Italy’s new-look half-back partnership.
  • Italy have managed just one win against Ireland in the Six Nations and never away from home, with a shock 2013 victory coming in Rome by a score of 22-15.

Starting line-up: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Luca Morisi, 12, Carlo Canna, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Marcello Viloi, 8 Jake Polledri, 7 Braam Steyn, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Niccolò Cannone, 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 3 Giosuè Zilocchi, 2 Luca Bigi (c), 1 Danilo Fischetti

Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Simone Ferrari, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 David Sisi, 20 Johan Meyer, 21 Maxime Mbanda’, 22 Callub Braley, 23 Federico Mori

THE PREDICTION

Ireland found this fixture more difficult than they had predicted at last year’s Six Nations championship, eventually coming through with a 26-16 victory that they will hope to convincingly extend on in this edition. Coach Andy Farrell will be impressing on his team the importance of a big result here if they are to take a slim chance of winning the tournament as their points difference is low compared to the three teams above them right now. To that end, it should be all-out attack at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday and Ireland should come through the winners with a start of -25.

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