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.
“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.