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Joe Giddens Parisse: Italy's captain and talisman resumes his usual spot at number eight.
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This is the Italian team hoping to ruin Ireland's Six Nations defence on day one
Jacques Brunel makes just two changes from the side which lost to South Africa in November.

KELLY HAIMONA WILL make his Six Nations debut in Italy’s tournament opener against Ireland.

The New Zealand-born out-half starts alongside Eduardo Gori for Saturday’s meeting with the defending champions in Rome.

Haimona, 28, won his first cap in the November Series win against Samoa and held down his spot for the defeats against Argentina and South Africa.

He returns again in an experienced side which sees Jacques Brunel makes just two changes from the 22-6 defeat against the Boks in Padova.

George Biagi replaces the injured Quintin Geldenhuys and starts alongside John Furno in the second row, while Francesco Minto starts at openside with Samuela Vunisa missing out.

Brunel is hoping for a repeat of the 2013 clash in Rome, which Italy won 22-15, rather than last year’s Dublin renewal which saw Joe Schmidt’s side run out 39-point winners.

“Two years ago we dominated the game,” he said. ”Last year it was impossible to avoid their domination when all the statistics, like possession and tackles, were so negative.

“Something has to change and we will try to do so.”

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15. Andrea Masi
14. Leonardo Sarto
13. Michele Campagnaro
12. Luca Morisi
11. Luke McLean
10. Kelly Haimona
9. Edoardo Gori

1. Matias Aguero
2. Leonardo Ghiraldini
3. Martin Castrogiovanni
4. Josh Furno
5. George Biagi
6. Alessandro Zanni
7. Francesco Minto
8. Sergio Parisse (c)


16. Andrea Manici
17. Alberto De Marchi
18. Dario Chistolini
19. Marco Fuser
20. Robert Barbini
21. Guglielmo Palazzani
22. Tommaso Allan
23. Giovanbattista Venditti

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