Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll prepares to make his 140th Test appearance.Reuters

Italy v Ireland is live on BBC One and BBC One HD from 2:30pm (GMT) on Saturday 8 March. Live commentary is on BBC Radio 5 Live.


A defeat to England ended Ireland's hopes of clinching Grand Slam and Triple Crown triumphs at Twickenham two weeks ago but the Boys In Green head into the penultimate weekend of the 2014 Six Nations best placed to secure the championship with a superior points difference compared to England, Wales and France

While France will be expected to shrug off the challenge of Scotland, Italy are still without a win in this series. But although he may not have been at the helm last year, Joe Schmidt's side will still have vivid memories of their embarrassing loss to the Azzurri last year, their first in 18 meetings.

That encounter in Rome will spark particularly bad memories for Brian O'Driscoll who received a three week suspension for a stamp on Simone Favaro in that 22-15 defeat. But as he stands on the cusp of appearing in his record breaking 140th Test, it's difficult to envisage a repeat this time around.

What the Coaches Say:

Jacques Brunel: "We've got five third row players out injured, so we have to adapt.

"We just didn't manage things well (against Scotland) while under pressure.

"We've given plenty of playing time to the same (players) over three matches, now we have to give some to some others."

"We've taken a step backwards in terms of how we played in our two previous games," Brunel said after the match.

"Apart from the defence, we failed in most other departments."

Joe Schmidt: "The temptation was there to make other changes to the side and certainly some players have been putting their hands up for starting places.

"We had to balance that with continuity and a respect for Italy. We can't get too far ahead of ourselves and must play to the best of our ability.

"We want to get points on the board in the first 40 minutes and if we can get some points on the board that's great; if we can breach their defences that's even better."


Italy: L McLean; A Esposito, M Campagnaro, G Garcia, L Sarto; L Orquera, T Tebaldi; A De Marchi, L Ghiraldini, M Castrogiovanni, Q Geldenhuys, M Bortolami, J Furno, P Derbyshire, R Barbieri.

Replacements: D Giazzon, M Rizzo, L Cittadini, A Pavanello, M Vosawai, E Gori, T Allan, A Masi.

Ireland: R Kearney; A Trimble, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, D Kearney; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D Toner, P O'Connell; I Henderson, C Henry, J Heaslip.

Replacements :S Cronin, J McGrath, M Moore, R Ruddock, J Murphy, E Reddan, P Jackson, F McFadden.