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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019
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Kristopher Burton handed debut shot against Irish in Rome

Italians name side to open the Six Nations championship against Declan Kidney’s men.

Image: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport

ITALY’S HEAD COACH Nick Mallett has handed the No 10 shirt to Benetton Treviso’s Kristopher Burton for his debut in Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations opener against Ireland at Rome’s Flaminio Stadium.

The Australia-born fly-half replaces Craig Gower, who is out for the entire tournament with a knee injury.

Burton’s clubmate Alessandro Zanni replaces veteran Mauro Bergamasco at seven. Bergamasco is out of the Six Nations having suffered a shoulder injury back in November.

Edoardo Gori starts at scrum-half after an impressive game against Fiji last autumn. The Azzurri – who are usually at their strongest in the first game - will be boosted by the return of Sergio Parisse.

The captian missed last year’s Six Nations with a serious knee injury and watched as Italy suffered four defeats in five games.

Italy team to play Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations Championship, Stadio Flaminio, Rome on Saturday, 3:30pm:

L McLean; A Masi, G Canale, A Sgarbi, M Bergamasco; K Burton, E Gori; S Perugini, L Ghiraldini, M Castrogiovanni, S Dellape, Q Geldenhuys, J Sole, A Zanni, S Parisse (capt).

Replacements: F Ongaro, A Lo Cicero, C Del Fava, V Bernabo, P Canavosio, L Orquera, G Garcia.

Read all the build-up coverage here>

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