Favaro returns as Italy change four for Ireland showdown

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Simone Favaro returns to Italy's starting XV to face Ireland in the Six Nations in one of four changes from head coach Conor O'Shea.

The big-hitting flanker, who this week announced he will not be staying at Glasgow Warriors next season, has struggled with shoulder and ankle injuries and was not risked for the opening-round loss against Wales.

However, Favaro returns to openside flanker to face Ireland in Rome, with Maxime Mbanda playing at seven and Abraham Steyn dropping to the bench.

Andries van Schalkwyk comes into the second row in place of George Biagi and Leonardo Ghiraldini is preferred to Ornel Gega at hooker.

The only change in the backs sees Angelo Esposito take Giulio Bisegni's place on the right wing.

 

Italy team: Team: Edoardo Padovani, Angelo Esposito, Tommaso Benvenuti, Luke McLean, Giovanbattista Venditti, Carlo Canna, Edoardo Gori; Andrea Lovotti, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Lorenzo Cittadini, Marco Fuser, Andries van Schalkwyk, Maxime Mbanda, Simone Favaro, Sergio Parisse