Italy beat Canada 23-18 in their second game and sit third in the group but they must overcome Ireland to retain a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The Stade Francais number eight eventually joined Italy’s World Cup camp on Tuesday but will have to pass two fitness tests in order to make the lineup to face Joe Schmidt’s side.
“We need to him to exude all his usual influence against Ireland, in what will be an extremely tough match”, Geldenhuys said. The back three is made up of Simon Zebo at fullback with Tommy Bowe and Dave Kearney filling the wing positions.
Zebo stays at full-back because Rob Kearney is not being risked as he recovers from the hip injury he sustained in his replacement’s outing last weekend.
Sexton, rested last time out against Romania, will look to take up where he confidently left off in 60 minutes against Canada, while centre Robbie Henshaw gets his first run after missing the opening games with a tight hamstring.
Italy captain Sergio Parisse has returned to training ahead of the Azzuri’s clash against Ireland on Sunday.
The returning regular starters also include half-backs Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray plus other key players Paul O’Connell, Mike Ross and Iain Henderson.
“We need him to run the show for us against Ireland, and we all know he’s fully capable”.
Italy’s Jacques Brunel: “I am convinced that we can win, but up until now we haven’t been able to play the rugby that we were expecting”. The backrow is made up of Jamie Heaslip at No.8, Sean O’Brien at open-side and Peter O’Mahony at blindside.