Six Nations: Italy make four changes to team for Ireland game

Tobias Botes will earn his first international start
Tobias Botes will earn his first international start

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has made four changes to his side for Saturday's Six Nations match against Ireland.

Fly-half Tobias Botes will earn his first international start at fly-half, with Kristopher Burton relegated to the bench.

Alberto Sgarbi replaces Gonzalo Canale at number 12 and loosehead prop Michele Rizzo will make his Six Nations debut, replacing Andrea Lo Cicero.

Lorenzo Cittadini replaces injured Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni.

Castrogiovanni will miss the rest of the tournament after sustaining a fractured rib in the defeat by England.

Aironi prop Fabio Staibano has also been included in the Azzurri's 24-man squad for the first time since the summer of 2009.

Italy began their Six Nations campaign with a 30-12 loss at France and fell 19-15 to England in Rome in the last round.

Italy team to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday: A Masi (Aironi Rugby); G Venditti (Aironi Rugby), T Benvenuti (Benetton Treviso), A Sgarbi (Benetton Treviso) , L McLean (Benetton Treviso); T Botes (Benetton Treviso), E Gori (Benetton Treviso); M Rizzo (Benetton Treviso), L Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso), L Cittadini (Benetton Treviso), Q Geldenhuys (Aironi Rugby), M Bortolami (Aironi Rugby), A Zanni (Benetton Treviso), R Barbieri (Benetton Treviso), S Parisse (Stade Francais).

Replacements: T D'Apice (Aironi Rugby),F Staibano (Aironi Rugby), A Pavanello (Benetton Treviso), S Favaro (Aironi Rugby), F Semenzato (Benetton Treviso), K Burton (Benetton Treviso), G Canale (Clermont-Auvergne), A Lo Cicero (Racing-Metro Paris), G Toniolatti (Aironi Rugby).