Ireland will look to build on a promising performance against France when they welcome Italy to RDS Arena on Sunday.

Scott Bemand’s team went down 38-17 to Les Bleues in Round 1 but there were plenty of positives after an improved showing on both sides of the ball.

Le Azzurre are also seeking their first win in this year’s Guiness Women’s Six Nations following their 48-0 defeat by England.

Italy won this fixture 24-7 last year as Alyssa D’Inca crossed twice in Parma but recent history gives Ireland the edge, with the home team coming out on top in each fixture since 2018.


Sam Monaghan has returned from injury to lead Ireland but her co-captain Edel McMahon does not make the squad.

Second row Monaghan missed Ireland's opener in Le Mans after failing to pass return to play protocols following a concussion.

The Wasps lock is joined in the second row by Dorothy Wall while Grace Moore comes into the back row alongside Aoife Wafer and Brittany Hogan.

Dannah O'Brien gets the nod at fly-half to partner Aoibheann Reilly, while the returning Enya Breen starts at centre alongside Eve Higgins.

Italy make four changes from the side that lost in Parma, three of which come in the pack.

Ilaria Arrighetti replaces Giulia Cavina at No.8, while Giordana Duca comes into the second row as Sara Tounesi switches to blindside flanker and Isabella Locatelli drops to the bench.

Silvia Turani moves to loosehead from hooker, allowing Vittoria Vecchini to come into the front row.

In the back line, Emma Stevanin starts at inside centre with Michela Sillari ruled out through injury.

Beatrice Veronese and Francesca Granzotto are named among the replacements for the first time in this year’s Championship.


Ireland head coach Scott Bemand: "Last week we saw progression but know we've got to keep going after on-pitch performance.

"We've made some changes to the side from last week and this reflects the competition that is building in the squad."

Italy centre Emma Stevanin: “We have reviewed the performance against England and for 50 minutes we were happy with a lot of the things we were doing.

“During that time we defended well and frustrated England and showed glimpses of what we can do when we have the ball in hand.

“However, England then got away from us a bit and we know that we need to be better for 80 minutes going forward if we are to win matches in this event.

“We know that Ireland are a side that are building too and they had some good moments in their match against France in round one.”


Dropping Aoife Dalton after a try and strong all-round performance is a bold call from Scott Bemand, so there are big shoes for Enya Breen to fill.

Breen, 24, will win her 18th international cap and first since last year’s opening round, where she sustained a knee injury against Wales.

Her opposite number Emma Stevanin is also still learning the ropes on the international stage at the age of just 21, and starts after a Championship-ending injury to the vastly experienced Michela Sillari.

Both have undoubted talent and could be stars of their teams for years to come, making this midfield battle particularly spicy.


Italy have lost each of their previous nine games on Irish soil by double-digit margins.

Ireland have lost each of their last six matches in the Guinness Women’s Six Nations, their longest losing streak in the Championship since 2006-2007 (L7).

Ireland completed the most tackles overall of any team in the opening round of this year’s Guinness Women’s Six Nations (166) and also made the most dominant tackles of any team last weekend (17)

Italy duo Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi (5) and Aura Muzzo (6) were two of just five players to beat 5+ defenders in the opening round of this year’s Guinness Women’s Six Nations.


Neve Jones (16.4 stars) amassed 29 Fantasy points in Round 1, making a whopping 23 tackles, carrying for 16 metres and making one breakdown steal.

Scrum-half Sofia Stefan (13.5 stars) looked as likely as anyone to create something last weekend for Italy last weekend and she scored against Ireland in last year’s meeting.


Ireland: 15. Lauren Delany, 14. Katie Corrigan, 13. Eve Higgins, 12. Enya Breen, 11. Béibhinn Parsons, 10. Dannah O’Brien, 9. Aoibheann Reilly; 1. Linda Djougang, 2. Neve Jones, 3. Christy Haney, 4. Dorothy Wall, 5. Sam Monaghan (c), 6. Grace Moore, 7. Aoife Wafer, 8. Brittany Hogan

Replacements: 16. Sarah Delaney, 17. Niamh O’Dowd, 18. Sadhbh McGrath, 19. Fiona Tuite, 20. Eimear Corri, 21. Molly Scuffil-McCabe, 22. Nicole Fowley, 23. Aoife

Italy: 15. ⁠Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi; 14. ⁠Aura Muzzo; 13. ⁠Beatrice Rigoni, 12. ⁠Emma Stevanin; 11. ⁠Alyssa D'Incà; 10. ⁠Veronica Madia, 9. ⁠Sofia Stefan (c); 1. Silvia Turani, 2. Vittoria Vecchini, 3. ⁠Sara Seye; 4. ⁠Valeria Fedrighi, 5. ⁠Giordana Duca; 6. Sara Tounesi, 7. Francesca Sgorbini⁠, 8. Ilaria Arrighetti

Replacements: 16. Laura Gurioli, 17. ⁠Gaia Maris, 18. ⁠Lucia Gai, 19. ⁠Isabella Locatelli, 20. Beatrice Veronese, 21. ⁠Alessandra Frangipaini, 22. Francesca Granzotto, 23. Beatrice Capomaggi