Berliner TageBlatt - Sexton on bench as Carbery starts for Ireland against Italy

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Sexton on bench as Carbery starts for Ireland against Italy
Sexton on bench as Carbery starts for Ireland against Italy / Foto: © AFP

Sexton on bench as Carbery starts for Ireland against Italy

Joey Carbery gets his second successive Six Nations start for Ireland in the home game against Italy on Sunday despite talismanic fly-half and captain Johnny Sexton being fully fit after a hamstring problem.


Carbery was widely praised for his performance in what was his first ever Six Nations start -- though it was his 29th Test -- in the 30-24 defeat by France in Paris a fortnight ago.

Sexton missed the game due to the hamstring strain, but head coach Andy Farrell may see this as an ideal opportunity against pointless Italy to give Carbery another start with the reassuring presence of 102-times capped Sexton on the bench.

Elsewhere, Farrell has made several changes to the starting line-up which lost in Paris.

and which also handsomely defeated champions Wales in their opening clash.

Michael Lowry gets his first cap at full-back -- Hugo Keenan who had been an ever-present, starting 17 times since making his debut in 2020 is not in the 23.

Keenan's Leinster team-mate New Zealand-born wing James Lowe appears for the first time this tournament after recovering from injury.

Mack Hansen, who has made a huge impact since winning his first cap in Ireland's opening day thrashing of champions Wales, is on the other wing.

Robbie Henshaw comes into the starting XV -- he came on as a replacement against France -- and will partner Leinster team-mate Garry Ringrose in the centres.

Veteran flanker Peter O'Mahony captains the side with Sexton on the bench and with James Ryan, who usually steps in when Sexton is unavailable out with an adductor problem.

The Irish will be hot favourites to reignite their title hopes after a narrow loss against the French. They have won nine of their last 10 Tests while the Italians are on a run of 34 Six Nations defeats.

Team (15-1)

Michael Lowry; Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Joey Carbery, Jamison Gibson Park; Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Peter O'Mahony (capt); Ryan Baird, Tadhg Beirne; Tadhg Furlong, Dan Sheehan, Andrew Porter


Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Kieran Treadwell, Jack Conan, Craig Casey, Johnny Sexton, James Hume