Both teams are searching for their first win of the 2022 tournament


Women’s Six Nations Ireland v Italy Preview

Italy travel to Ireland on Sunday in the third round of the Women’s Six Nations and both teams are looking for their first wins of the campaign.

With Ireland likely to be without a lot of their backs later in the championship due to sevens commitments, this could be their best opportunity for a victory. They have shown their attacking threats in the first two games, albeit that they were more effective against Wales than France.

They will look to find holes in the Italy defence and expect them to look to get the ball to their dangerous runners in the wide channels. Eve Higgins has starred so far – the midfield battle involving her and Beatrice Rigoni should be great to watch.

The Azzurre impressed in patches against France but were not able to capitalise on their opportunities while against England they created only one real chance all game – that was a disappointing performance.

So both sides will be looking to bounce back in Cork. Here is all you need to know about the match in our Women’s Six Nations Ireland v Italy Preview.

What’s the big team news?

As well as a positional switch that sees Lucy Mulhall move from wing to full-back, there are four personnel changes to the Ireland team.

In the backs, wing Beibhinn Parsons and scrum-half Kathryn Dane come in. Up front, prop Christy Haney and No 8 Hannah O’Connor start.

Teenage back-rower Aoife Wafer could also make her Test debut from the bench.

Originally there were three changes to the Italy starting XV, with the addition of plenty of experience to the back-line in captain Manuela Furla and centurion Sara Barattin while Beatrice Veronese came into the back row.

Further changes were needed before the match due to Covid withdrawals, with Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi and Alyssa D’Inca coming into a reshuffled back-line, and Valeria Fedrighi in at lock.

What have the coaches said?

Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams: “We have challenged the players to take their opportunities and we’re trying to increase competition across the board, which is a really healthy thing to have within your squad.

“The players coming into the team this week have worked hard and earned their chance, so we’re looking forward to seeing how they react and perform.”

Italy head coach Andrea Di Giandomenico: “We urgently need to return to offering an adequate performance at the required level.

“Ireland are also looking for their first success in the tournament. It will certainly be a close match. We will have to work effectively in defence.”

What time is kick-off and is it on TV?

The match will kick off at 5pm on Sunday 10 April at Musgrave Park.

It will be available to watch on the BBC iPlayer in the UK. For more information on how to watch the match from elsewhere in the world see our Women’s Six Nations live stream guide.

Referee Aurelie Groizeleau will be assisted by Doriane Domenjo and Francesca Martin. Eric Gauzins is the TMO.

What are the line-ups?

Ireland: Lucy Mulhall; Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins, Stacey Flood, Beibhinn Parsons; Nicole Cronin, Kathryn Dane; Linda Djougang, Neve Jones, Christy Haney, Nichola Fryday (captain), Sam Monaghan, Dorothy Wall, Edel McMahon, Hannah O’Connor.

Replacements: Emma Hooban, Chloe Pearse, Katie O’Dwyer, Brittany Hogan, Aoife Wafer, Aoibheann Reilly, Enya Breen, Aoife Doyle.

Italy: Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi; Manuela Furla (captain), Alyssa D’Inca, Beatrice Rigoni, Maria Magatti; Veronica Madia, Sara Barattin; Gaia Maris, Melissa Bettoni, Lucia Gai, Sara Tounesi, Valeria Fedrighi, Beatrice Veronese, Isabella Locatelli, Elisa Giordano.

Replacements: Vittoria Vecchini, Emanuela Stecca, Sara Seye, Alessia Margotti, Alessandra Frangipani, Sofia Stefan, Beatrice Capomaggi, Federica Cipolla.

Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.