CARDIGAN’S Stephen Varney will start for Italy against Ireland in the Six Nations this weekend.

Varney - who is from Rhoshill - started the 2024 tournament as a replacement as head coach Gonzalo Quesada went with the sibling half-back pairing of Alessandro and Paolo Garbisi in Rome.

But the former Crymych RFC scrum half - who qualifies for Italy through his grandparents on his mother’s side - will be starting against Ireland in Sunday’s clash in Dublin.

Italy team to face Ireland on Sunday, February 11 (3pm kick off, live on ITV): 15 Ange Capuozzo; 14 Lorenzo Pani, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Monty Ioane; 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney; 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli; 4 Niccolo Cannone, 5 Federico Ruzza; 6 Alessandro Izekor, 7 Manuel Zuliani, 8 Michele Lamaro.

Replacements: 16 Giacomo Nicotera, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Giosue Zilocchi, 19 Andrea Zambonin, 20 Ross Vintcent, 21 Martin Page-Relo, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Federico Mori.