Sport Smith names unchanged Italy team to face Ireland
UK's unilateral action on Northern Ireland protocol 'temporary steps' as EU vows legal move
The UK has defended its unilateral action over the Northern Ireland protocol, calling the move "temporary and technical steps"It comes after the European Union said it will take legal action over Britain's decision to continue Irish Sea border grace periods until October.
(Reuters) - Italy coach Franco Smith has named an unchanged side for the visit of Ireland in Saturday's Six Nations match.
Young halfback pair Stephen Varney, 19, and Paolo Garbisi, 20, are again entrusted by Smith, with Juan Ignacio Brex earning his third cap at centre alongside Carlo Canna, who will reach a half century of appearances for the Azzurri.
Italy have lost 29 Six Nations matches in a row stretching back to a win over Scotland in 2015 and firm favourites to pick up a sixth successive wooden spoon in this year's competition.
Smith, though, sees progression in his young side.
Northern Ireland’s Foster accuses EU of disregarding peace deal
Dispute over alleged breach of Brexit deal by UK shows EU ‘only interested’ in protecting itself, first minister says.The EU said on Wednesday it would take legal action after the UK government unilaterally extended a grace period for checks on food imports to Northern Ireland, a move Brussels said violated the terms of the pact it brokered with London late last year.
"We worked a lot on ourselves focusing on our game plan," Smith told a news conference on Thursday after keepig faith with the XV beaten 41-18 by England at Twickenham.
"Against Ireland we aim to show the same attitude we showed in the last match with the aim of taking another step forward in the growth path."
Ireland are still searching for their first victory in this year's Championship after losses to Wales and France, who beat Italy 50-10 in their opening game.
15. Jacopo Trulla (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano, 5 caps)
14. Luca Sperandio (Benetton Rugby, 10 caps)
13. Juan Ignacio Brex (Benetton Rugby, 2 cap)
12. Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby Club, 49 caps)
11. Montanna Ioane (Benetton Rugby, 3 caps)
10. Paolo Garbisi (Benetton Rugby, 7 caps)
Gallery: The best ever meetings between England and Ireland (Grid)
Pro-UK militants in N.Ireland renounce peace deal after Brexit
Pro-UK paramilitaries say they are abandoning support for Northern Ireland's 1998 peace deal because of a post-Brexit trading pact that has provoked crisis between London and Brussels. The LCC represents three militant groups that were responsible for many deaths during 30 years of conflict between pro-UK unionists and pro-Irish republicans, before the peace was sealed in 1998. The council emphasised that unionist opposition to the Brexit deal's Northern Ireland Protocol should remain "peaceful and democratic".
9. Stephen Varney (Gloucester Rugby, 5 caps)
8. Michele Lamaro (Benetton Rugby, 4 caps)
7. Johan Meyer (Zebre Rugby Club, 11 caps)
6. Sebastian Negri (Benetton Rugby, 30 caps)
5. David Sisi (Zebre Rugby Club, 13 caps)
4. Marco Lazzaroni (Benetton Rugby, 13 caps)
3. Marco Riccioni (Benetton Rugby, 9 caps)
2. Luca Bigi (Zebre Rugby Club, 34 caps) (C)
1. Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby Club, 44 caps)
16. Gianmarco Lucchesi(Benetton Rugby, 4 caps)
17. Cherif Traore (Benetton Rugby, 10 caps)
18. Giosuè Zilocchi (Zebre Rugby Club, 12 caps)
19. Niccolò Cannone (Benetton Rugby, 10 caps)
20. Maxime Mbanda (Zebre Rugby Club, 26 caps)
21. Callum Braley (Benetton Rugby, 49 caps)
22. Federico Mori (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano, 6 caps)
23. Mattia Bellini (Zebre Rugby Club, 28 caps)
(Reporting by Peter Hall; editing by Ken Ferris)
Ireland must 'free themselves' to rescue Six Nations campaign: attack coach .
Ireland's players must communicate better and "free themselves up" when they face Italy on Saturday after a disastrous start to their Six Nations campaign, said attack coach Mike Catt. Andy Farrell's men head to Rome hoping to avoid losing their first three games for the first time since the 1998 Five Nations -- before Italy were added to the championship. Catt was part of the England side that ensured the Irish ended up pointless that year, scoring a try in the 35-17 victory on the final day. The 49-year-old has been criticised for the lack of cut and thrust shown by the backs in the 21-16 defeat by Wales and the 15-13 loss to France.