Ireland head to Rome on Saturday aiming for a first win of this Six Nations and will be confident of overcoming a struggling Italy side.

The Azzurri have conceded 91 points in their two outings thus far and questions have been asked regarding the validity of them still holding a place in the competition.

Against an out-of-sorts Ireland, they may put up a spirited showing but the visitors' class promises to see them through.

Italy vs Ireland Betting Odds

Try as he might, making numerous tweaks to the Azzurri's style, Franco Smith cannot get a consistent tune out of his players.

A look at the history books shows Italy's last win in this competition came against Scotland, way back in 2015. However, they have beaten Ireland in recent memory, claiming a 22-15 win at the Stadio Olimpico in 2013.

That said, they have lost the pair's 10 subsequent meetings and they are a sizeable 20/1 to break their duck on Saturday.

Ireland on the other hand, are 1/20, while a first draw between these two nations is 100/1

Italy vs Ireland Team News

Smith continues to push forward with his vision for a free-flowing Italian side, with fly-half Carlo Canna again set to play as a second-receiver at inside centre.

In fact, Smith has stuck with the same XV that lost 41-18 at Twickenham in Round 2, although there are two alterations on the bench where scrum-half Callum Braley and wing Mattia Bellini are included.

Its a different story for Ireland, Andy Farrell making seven changes from their 15-13 defeat to France, the most crucial of that septet perhaps the return of captain Jonny Sexton at fly-half.

Jordan Larmour will also add electricity from the right wing, while British & Irish Lions tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong will be looking to make an impact having had to bide his time.

Italy vs Ireland Prediction

Italy +22 Handicap - BET NOW

Italy are rightly the big underdogs and their last outing at the Stadio Olimpico, when they were crushed 50-10 by France, demonstrated that their defence requires huge work.

They did look sharper without the ball at Twickenham though and their determination can often compensate for a comparative lack of talent.

Having beaten the handicap at HQ, there is a feeling they could do the same on Saturday against an out-of-sorts Ireland.

Highest Scoring Half - Second - BET NOW

After being blown away early doors by a rampant French team, Italy were again loose before the break against England. But, with two games in their legs, they should be stronger.

However, they traditionally fall off after the interval when their fitness deserts them, a trait exposed by Les Bleus who ran in four second-half tries, three of which came before the hour.

A back three of James Lowe, Larmour and Hugo Keenan will relish taking on a tired defence and with the elusive Garry Ringrose providing further ammunition from midfield, it could be a long second half for Italy.

Jordan Larmour - Anytime Tryscorer - BET NOW

As referenced above, Larmour is one of the most elusive runners in the game. A shoulder injury has curtailed his progress over the last six months and Saturday marks his first start for Ireland since last year's Round 3 defeat to England.

Prior to that, he'd scored a try against Wales from full-back. While 15 is undoubtedly the Leinsterman's prefered position, he can be just as effective on the wing if provided with the right service.

The 23-year-old has fond memories of facing Italy having made his debut against them in 2018 before scoring hat-trick when facing the Azzurri in November that year.

2021 Six Nations: Italy v Ireland Betting Tips

1. Italy +22 Handicap
2. Highest Scoring Half - Second @ 4/6
3. Jordan Larmour - Anytime Tryscorer @ 5/6

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