Italy v Scotland: four changes to Townsend’s starting XV

Stuart McInally, Sam Johnson, Duncan Weir and Duhan van Der Merwe all added to side for trip to Florence, with five changes on the bench

As anticipated, Duncan Weir will start for Scotland against Italy on Saturday. Image: © Craig Watson -
As anticipated, Duncan Weir will start for Scotland against Italy on Saturday. Image: © Craig Watson -

GREGOR TOWNSEND has made four changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup opener away to Italy in Florence, with Stuart Mcinally replacing Fraser Brown (who picked up a head injury during training yesterday) at hooker, Duncan Weir coming in as expected at stand-off, fit again Sam Johnson named at inside-centre, and Duhan van der Merwe getting the nod ahead of Blair Kinghorn on the the left wing.

George Turner, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Nick Haining and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne have also been added to the bench. George Horne is unavailable due to a toe injury but is hopeful of being back for next week’s game against France.

“It’s exciting to be a part of this new competition, and also to play in Florence for the first time,” said Townsend. “Italy recorded a famous win against South Africa in this stadium, and we are well aware of the quality they have in their squad that they can raise their game to a similar level this weekend.

The Breakdown: are Scotland ready for their Italian job?

Italy v Scotland: Hamish Watson dismisses speculation to focus on Nations Cup

Clear thinking in the fog benefits Nathan Chamberlain and Edinburgh

“While we gained confidence from the win over Wales, we have been working hard to improve in all areas of our game, and we believe that there is a lot more to come from this group of players. The energy has been great at training and we are seeing real competition for places throughout our squad. We are looking forward to this squad grabbing their opportunity to play and take the game to the opposition.”

Scotland (v Italy at Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence, Saturday @ 12.45pm GMT): S Hogg©;  D Graham, C Harris, S Johnson, D van der Merwe; D Weir, A Price; R Sutherland, S McInally (VC), Z Fagerson, S Cummings, J Gray,  J Ritchie (VC), H Watson, B Thomson. Substitutes: G Turner, O Kebble, W Nel, S Skinner, N Haining, S Hidalgo-Clyne, J Lang, B Kinghorn.

The Breakdown: are Scotland ready for their Italian job?

About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. I’d like to see Hidalgo-Clyne getting a run. His potential for breaking round the scrum or ruck will take pressure off Weir. Most Youtube videos concentrate on his breaks so I’ve no idea how fast his hands are. He’s fast given space – has played stand-off and wing.

  2. Like the look of the team, interesting to see how Weir and Johnson go, but a good looking back line. I would like to see Jones at 13 he is so elegant on his day.

    • I think wee Dunky will insist on quick ball from Price,(he hasn’t done that too well in the previous two games, this autumn,) to give him as much time as poss to get the backs moving.

  3. A good side and decent bench, the lads are playing really well at the moment so confident of a result. As much as he is a pretty decent defensive centre, I still can’t stop continually asking myself is Chris Harris honestly the best 13 we have?! He seems to be a massive favorite of Townsend’s and owns the jersey right now, but for me he does not have even 50% of the raw talent of Huw Jones or Mark Bennett. The defensive side of the team seems to be really strong now which is the main thing, so perhaps Harris is holding that line very well which is good but in attacking terms for me he offers very very little (best exemplified by his butchering the pass in Llanelli after another brilliant line break and pass by Hogg)

    • In fairness, Harris laid on the inside pass for Hogg’s line break in the first place, and the return ball came back too quickly (though should still have been held). It sounds like tries against Italy and France, plus an excellent assist against the latter, have been quickly forgotten.

  4. very good team. will be interesting to see what duncan weir brings, especially with sam johnson lining up at 12, normally johnson works very well with his sharp lines and russells flat pass, ireland and england 2019 six nations for an example, the 10/12 relationship will be crucial on sat i feel

Comments are closed.