Posted: Saturday, January 31th,, 2011 by Gregory Swaby

Italy vs Ireland Six Nations 2011    Saturday 5th  February 2011 at the Stadio Flamino, Rome

On Saturday 5th of February at Stadio Flaminio what on paper should be an open and shut win for the Ireland against the Azzuri may break down into more of a scrap for the men from the emerald Isle.  With Tommy Bowe, a pivotal figure in Ireland backline now having his name added to coach Declan Kidney's injury list, now containing, Horgan, Andrew Trimble, Rob Kearney and Geordan Murphy. The 2010 RBS Player of the Tournament is also likely to miss the clash with France.

Influential No.8 Jamie Heaslip’s ankle injury is worse than first feared and he is also out of the match at the Aviva Stadium with his backrow colleague, Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris, also unlikely to be declared fit.  Speaking at 6 Nations Launch at the, Kidney admitted the run of injuries will test his squad’s depth. “We've tried to build a squad over the last few years and this will be the test of that.

This will be the final preparation stage that Kidney was hoping for in the run up to the world cup. The two teams will be facing one another in the group stages in New Zealand.

The hosts have their own injury list and have drafted in Kristopher Burton, a reliable goal-kicker, to replace Craig Gower, should be pushing Brive's Luciano Orquera for the starting spot.  Other notable absentee is openside flanker Mauro Bergamasco, set to miss the tournament after shoulder surgery. Sergio Parisse, who missed the 2010 tournament, is however available again.  "The matches in November demonstrated the quality we have in this group and it's right to keep those who did well in November," said Head coach Nick Mallett.

However a quick glance over the stats does paint a slightly clearer picture, in the 11 six nation fixtures between the two sides Ireland have 100% record, scoring 43 tries to the Azzuri's 13. Both will be looking to get off to positive starts, Italy will be aiming to avoid the wooden spoon and the men in green will be hoping to add a second tournament win since their first in 2009.