Ireland captain Paul O’Connell is braced for a physical encounter with italy at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland expect to be “battered up front and pushed to the limit” by Italy in Sunday’s crucial World Cup encounter at London’s Olympic Stadium. Captain(...)

Italy’s Sergio Parisse has won his fitness race ahead of his side’s clash with Ireland at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Afp

Sergio Parisse has won his fitness battle for Sunday’s crucial World Cup clash with Ireland. The talismanic captain has finally beaten the calf haema(...)

Italy fullback Luke McLean: “We realise that we will have to be virtually perfect if we’re to have any chance to come away with a win.” Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty

Luke McLean, Italy’s long-since naturalised Aussie who has played for his adopted country 72 times, is one of only four players in their squad born(...)

Italy backrow Sergio Parisse takes part in a team training session at Cobham RFC, London. Photograph: Getty Images.

Sergio Parisse took some part in his first training session with his Italian team-mates in Cobham yesterday after linking up with them on Tuesday, and(...)

Tommaso Allan of Italy reacts at the end of the game as Italy narrowly beat Canada 23-18. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Italy avoided a Canadian calamity at Elland Road on Saturday but outhalf Tommaso Allan admits the team must improve offensively if they are to make a (...)

Gonzalo Garcia of Italy goes over for a try during the  Rugby World Cup Pool D match against  Canada at Elland Road  in Leeds. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Italy 23 Canada 18 Italy squeaked past a determined and inventive Canada at Elland Road to keep alive their hopes in Pool D at the Rugby World Cup. T(...)

Acting Italy captain Leonardo Ghiraldini believes it will be tough to beat Canada. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

Italy v Canada, Elland Rd, Saturday, 2.30 (TV3, ITV) The most pertinent aspect of the build-up to this match from an Irish perspective is that (...)

Martin Castrogiovanni has been dropped as Italy coach Jacques Brunel announced four changes for Saturday’s game against Canada at Elland Road. Photograph: Afp

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has made four changes to his team for the Rugby World Cup Pool D game against Canada in Leeds on Saturday. Props Mic(...)

France’s prop Rabah Slimani (C) rides a tackle from Italy’s back row Samuela Vunisa (2L) to score France’s first try during the Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between France and Italy at Twickenham stadium. Photograph: AFP PHOTO / Adrian Dennis

France 32 - 10 Italy It was all blue, more French blue than Italian blue, in Twickenham on Saturday night in Pool D. But it was hardly a spectacle of (...)

Ireland players line up for the anthems ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Scotland and Ireland - Six have been selected for our Six Nations team of the tournament. Photograph: Ian  MacNicol/Getty Images 9:27

15 Rob Kearney (Ireland):Leigh Halfpenny’s goal-kicking could give him the nod again. Stuart Hogg was electric and carried for 100 more metres. But Ke(...)