Italy v Ireland: RBS Six Nations match preview
Last Updated: March 16, 2013 2:14pm
Ireland coach Declan Kidney is ruing missed opportunities as his side enter their final match against Italy with just one win in the RBS Six Nations.
Kidney, who was named coach of the year in 2009 after guiding Ireland to a rare Grand Slam, is refusing to use injuries as excuses for his side's performances.
Replacement scrum-half Eoin Reddan is the latest casualty for Ireland after breaking his leg, while fly-half Jonathan Sexton is ruled out by a hamstring injury.
"Frustration is the word," Kidney said. "We are knocking on the door at being contenders but it is just about taking your chances which makes the difference at this level."
While injuries have hampered Ireland throughout the Six Nations, Kidney will be relieved to have Brian O'Driscoll available for their Rome encounter after the centre suffered concussion last week.
The match could be O'Driscoll's final appearance for his country and Italy coach Jacques Brunel recognises the occasion may lift Irish spirits.
"It will probably be O'Driscoll's final match, so that will add an extra dimension to their game," the Frenchman said.
"It's always a complicated match against the Irish. If you gain the upper hand, you have to kick them when they're down because they're capable of fighting their way back into any match."
Brunel set out to win two matches in this year's campaign which could come to fruition should his Italian side overcome Ireland at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovambattista Venditti, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Joshua Furno, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (capt) 1 Andrea Lo Cicero
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Alberto de Marchi, 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Francesco Minto, 21 Paul Derbyshire, 22 Tobias Botes, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip (capt) 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Iain Henderson, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Luke Fitzgerald