After a week away Round 3 of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations is nearly upon us, and things get back underway in Rome on Saturday, as Ireland and Italy face off at Stadio Olimpico.
Although neither side has tasted victory in this year’s Championship so far, this one is likely to be a firecracker of a match, with both teams looking to kickstart their respective campaigns.With two slender losses to Wales and France this year, Andy Farrell will be looking to turn his side’s fortunes around as they make the trip to Italy, while the Azzurri look to bounce back from defeats to France and England.
And Franco Smith has stuck with the same side that went down 41-18 in Twickenham a fortnight ago, with no changes to his starting XV, meaning a 50th international cap for Carlo Canna.The centre is the most experienced player named in the squad for the Round 3 clash, as he lines up alongside Juan Ignacio Brex in the midfield, while Montanna Ioane, Jacopo Trulla and Luca Sperandio line up in the back three.
Paolo Garbisi and Stephen Varney will start in the half-backs, with Michele Lamaro at No.8 alongside flankers Sebastian Negri and Johan Meyer.
Props Marco Riccioni and Andrea Lovotti also keep their places next to captain Luca Bigi, while David Sisi and Marco Lazzaroni will take charge in the second row.Farrell has shuffled his pack ahead of the trip to Rome, with the Ireland boss making seven changes to the starting XV that started the Round 2 clash with France in Stade de France.That means a return for skipper Johnny Sexton, after the fly-half missed out on the trip to Paris through injury, while James Ryan is also back in the second row.
Jordan Larmour comes in to start on the wing, with James Lowe lining up on the opposite flank, and Hugo Keenan making up the back three.
There is a completely new front row in store for the trip to Rome, with Dave Kilcoyne, Ronan Kelleher and Tadhg Furlong all coming into the starting XV, while Tadhg Beirne shifts to the back row.
What time does Italy vs Ireland kick-off?
Ireland’s game with Italy will get underway from 2.45pm UK time on Saturday, February 27.
The game will take place in Rome.
There will be no fans in attendance at the clash.
What channel is it on and can it be live streamed?
The game will be shown live on ITV1.
You can live stream the action from the ITV Hub, which is available for download on your mobile or tablet device.
Coverage of the clash will begin at 2.30pm.
Can I watch for FREE?
Yes, Ireland’s clash with Italy is FREE to watch on terrestrial TV, as thegame is being shown on ITV.
You can also catch the action on the ITV Hub.
Contract disputes with Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN have helped keep Alvarez sidelined for nearly all of 2020, but he will be fighting on the streaming service anyway in order to take on Smith.
The Mexican (53-1-2, 36 KOs) has bounced around divisions in recent years, finding success everywhere he goes, and he is looking to buckle down and unify the titles at the super-middleweight ranks.
Belfast’s favourite son became world champion at super bantamweight back in September 2014 when he overwhelmed Kiko Martinez on an emotional night outdoors in the Titanic Quarter.
Things bode well for the visitors heading into this one, with Ireland unbeaten in their last seven matches with the Azzurri, with Italy last claiming success in 2013 with a 22-15 victory.
Looking at the numbers, this one will be won and lost at the breakdown, with Ireland leading the way in terms of turnovers in this year’s Championship, with 14 changes in possession in their favour in their two matches so far.
On the other hand, Farrell’s side also lead the way in turnovers conceded this year with 30, so protecting the ball and taking care in possession will be paramount to getting the victory in Rome.
WHAT THEY SAID
Italy head coach Franco Smith said: “We worked a lot on ourselves focusing on our game plan.
“Against Ireland we aim to show the same attitude we showed in the last match with the aim of taking another step forward in the growth path.”.
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said: “Tadhg [Beirne] adds on both sides of the ball but set-piece wise, along with James Ryan and Iain Henderson, the three of them have been pretty strong in the lineout.
“I certainly feel they are good enough to stay in the competition long term because I can see the progress that Franco [Smith] is making with them. They are heading in the right direction. Different combinations take time to gel.”
KEY BATTLE – MONTANNA IOANE V JAMES LOWE
This is set to be a bruising battle on the flanks at Stadio Olimpico this weekend, with two of the finest wingers in the competition facing off.
Fresh from his first Championship try last time out against England, Montanna Ioane will be hungry for more in Rome, and with his quick feet and blistering pace, Ireland will have to be on their guard to keep him at arm’s length.
The same goes for Lowe, who can bulldoze over defenders at will once he gets a head of steam, while his kicking ability is one to be desired, with his booming boot turning the tables in an instant.
With 233m for Ioane and 223m for Lowe these are two of the four players with the most metres gained in the two matches so far, so we can expect them to have plenty of the ball on Saturday, and it’s sure to be a fascinating tussle for supremacy.
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– Ireland are the only side to still have a 100% scrum success rate in the 2021 Six Nations, winning all 12 scrums they’ve had on their own feed so far.
– Johnny Sexton is set to make his 50th appearance in the Six Nations, since his debut he has missed just seven of a possible 56 matches in the Championship, including Ireland’s defeat to Italy in 2013.
– Ireland have lost their opening two games of a Six Nations campaign for the first time ever, going back to include the Five Nations the last time they lost their opening three games was in 1998, when they lost all four games that year and picked up the wooden spoon.
– Italy have failed to score a second-half point in each of their last three home games against Ireland in the Six Nations.
– Ireland (88%) and Italy (83%) have the two best goal kicking success rates in the 2021 Six Nations, both missing just one kick at goal so far.
– Ireland have kicked from hand 76 times in the Championship this year, more than any other side, while Italy have kicked the least (44).
Despite neither side earning themselves a win in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations so far, it hasn’t stopped players from both sides racking up the Fantasy Rugby points in the opening two rounds.
The backs have been the highest scorers for both sides, with Hugo Keenan racking up 90 points so far after running 228m with the ball and breaking seven tackles, while Garry Ringrose isn’t far behind with 85.4 points.
The centre’s 206m made and eight broken tackles put him among the top scorers, while CJ Stander’s 18 tackles have contributed to him scoring 81.2 points heading into Round 3.
For Italy, top marks go to Montanna Ioane, whose try-scoring escapades and 236m gained with the ball in hand have seen him earn 78.4 points so far.
Not far behind is Paolo Garbisi, whose 11 points with the boot and 163m gained see him on 51.2 points, while Juan Ignacio Brex’s 19 tackles against France and England see him amassing 44.4 points to date.
There’s plenty of good value to have from either team heading into this one, with plenty of points expected to be scored from both sides at Stadio Olimpico.
Italy: 15 Jacopo Trulla, 14 Luca Sperandio, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 1 Andrea Lovotti, 2 Luca Bigi (C), 3 Marco Riccioni, 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 5 David Sisi, 6 Sebastian Negri, 7 Johan Meyer, 8 Michele Lamaro
Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Giosuè Zilocchi, 19 Niccolò Cannone, 20 Maxime Mbanda, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Federico Mori, 23 Mattia Bellini
Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (C), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 1 David Kilcoyne, 2 Rónan Kelleher, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Iain Henderson, 5 James Ryan, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 7 Will Connors, 8 CJ Stander.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Keith Earls.
” Smith (27-0 19 KOs) has been looking for the big fight and finally gets what he’s been asking for against boxing’s biggest star. “Mundo” fought on the Canelo-Fielding card, defeating Hassan N’Dam by third-round TKO. He won the WBA title by knocking out George Groves in September 2018 at the World Boxing Super Series final. The Englishman last competed in November 2019, beating John Ryder via unanimous decision.
“But imagine if Ireland click into the Farrell era with coaching that makes you want to apologise to Catt and Easterby for the grief that has been sent their way of late.
“That is where the Team Of Us finds themselves entering Stadio Olimpico. This is a dangerous fixture, another crossroads if you will, where the team will either limp onto Edinburgh or put Gregor Townsend and Finn Russell on notice.”
29 and counting. . .
Italy are now without a Six Nations win since February 28th 2015 – a run of 29 matches. Ireland will sorely want to avoid being associated with that run coming to an end. . .
Italy vs Ireland LIVE HD TV
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Italy vs Ireland: TV channel and live stream
The fight will be able to be streamed via the the DAZN app
Italy vs Ireland: Odds
Betfair currently have the Mexican to win at 1/6, with Smith 17/4 and a draw is 22/1.
Watch Italy vs Ireland live with a VPN
Watch the Italy vs Ireland stream live on Fox Sports PPV
Price: 75 USD
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Premier Sports has the rights to broadcast Spence Jr vs Garcia in the UK. The main card is set to commence at 9pm ET (2am UK time).
Main event ring walks are expected around midnight ET (5am UK time). Subscription to Premier Sports costs from £9.99 per month or £99 per year, and includes a host of live sports coverage ranging from La Liga and Serie A to Guinness rugby. Premier Sports can be streamed from a mobile or table device, or cast from your phone to your TV. Pretty convenient.
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What are the bookies saying?
France remain favourites to lift the title in March.
No Grand Slam 2-5
Italy 9-1 Ireland 1-25 Draw 20-1 (Ireland -21 10-11)
Wales 7-4 England 2-5 Draw 20-1 (England -7 10-11)
Who’s on the whistle?
Italy v France – Mathieu Raynal (France)
Wales v England – Pascal Gauzere (France)
France v Scotland – Wayne Barnes (England)
How’s the weather looking?
There are high temperatures across Europe this week, with Rome expecting 18 degrees and sunshine on Saturday. 18 degrees!!! We can dream. . .
Can I go?
Not yet – but we’ll get there.
Italy vs Ireland the world’s largest Associations. The next upcoming match between Joshua vs Pulev will be the exclusive match. Because both of them are skill boxers. That is why the match will create more excitement among the boxing lover. This match definitely will sketch a different monument of O2 Arena. There is really no doubt that it will be the best fighting match in 2021. Rugby lovers should not waste their time. Just collect the Sunday ticket & get ready to appreciate it. Stay with us for more updates.
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