Kirwan, who has compared the elder of the Bergamasco brothers to New Zealand ace Jonah Lomu, handed the number 14 jersey to Mauro when the team was unveiled.
Another key choice was the selection of inexperienced hooker Carlo Festuccia in the number two jersey that was the preserve of former skipper Alessandro Moscardi in previous 6 Nations campaigns.
Festuccia gets the nod ahead of Andrea Moretti who had to settle for a place on the bench.
Italy: 15 Paolo Vaccari, 14 Mauro Bergamasco, 13 Cristian Stoica, 12 Giovanni Raineri, 11 Denis Dallan, 10 Diego Dominguez, 9 Alessandro Troncon (capt); 1 Giampiero De Carli, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 3 Ramiro Martinez, 4 Cristian Bezzi, 5 Marco Bortolami, 6 Andrea De Rossi, 7 Aaron Persico, 8 Matthew Phillips.
Replacements: 16 Andrea Moretti, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Mark Giacheri, 19 Scott Palmer, 20 Juan Manuel Queirolo, 21 Ramiro Pez, 22 Mirco Bergamasco.