Keith Earls picks out the Italian players to guard against at the Aviva

Ireland winger looks ahead to Six Nations clash with Off The Ball's Dave McIntyre

Keith Earls, Ireland,

Keith Earls ©INPHO/James Crombie

Keith Earls believes Italy's performances in the Six Nations so far means Ireland face a huge challenge on Saturday.

The Munster back will start on the left wing in the Six Nations clash at the Aviva Stadium and picked out a number of opposition players he and his team-mates will remain wary of.

"They were in the English game up to 52 minutes and there was an intercept pass and England pulled away. They brought France right to the wire - and Scotland too. They held onto the ball well against Scotland and that's something they're after improving massively," he told Off The Ball's Dave McIntyre at Carton House.

"They can transition the ball between backs and forwards, offloading and they hold onto the ball for a long period of time, so our defence is going to have to be magic this weekend. We have to expect to go through the phases and they've a lot of quality players who are after coming into their own now like [Michele] Campagnaro, [Leonardo] Sarto and [David] Odiete. He's electric, so we have to start looking after these fellas, especially Campagnaro. He's come on massively since he's went to Exeter. He learned a lot there and his defensive play has been brilliant and he's really physical this year."