Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend today named three changes to the starting Scotland team to face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome this Saturday.
Scotland have won 22 of the 30 Tests between the nations but the odds are more evenly stacked when they meet in Italy, with the contests level on six apiece thanks to a recent run of four consecutive away wins for the Scots.
Scotland’s changes see Edinburgh forwards Stuart McInally (hooker) and Ben Toolis (second-row), and Gloucester centre Chris Harris, promoted from the bench for their first start of the 2020 campaign.
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McInally swaps places with Glasgow Warriors’ Fraser Brown, who moves to the bench, and Toolis comes in for the injured Jonny Gray (hand), while Harris is picked in favour of Huw Jones, with Sale Sharks wing Byron McGuigan taking his place on the bench.
Glasgow Warriors pairing Ali Price and Adam Hastings return at half-back for a third Test in a row, with clubmate Sam Johnson retained in midfield to partner Harris.
Edinburgh wing Blair Kinghorn – who scored a hat-trick in the corresponding fixture at Murrayfield last season – is joined once more by Sean Maitland (wing) and captain Stuart Hogg (full-back) in the back field.
Props Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland join McInally in the front-row, with Scott Cummings reinstated to partner Toolis at lock.
The all-Edinburgh back-row of Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson and Magnus Bradbury makes up the loose trio once again to complete the pack.
In all the replacements bench features four changes, with second-row Grant Gilchrist and wing McGuigan taking the places vacated by the promoted Harris and Toolis, while Edinburgh tighthead Willem Nel and recent squad addition Matt Fagerson (back-row) replace Simon Berghan and Nick Haining respectively.
Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham returned to training last week but has not yet recovered sufficiently from his knee injury to be considered for this Test match.
Scotland team to play Italy
15. Stuart Hogg CAPTAIN (Exeter Chiefs) – 74 caps
14. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 46 caps
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester)- 16 caps
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 11 caps
11. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 19 caps
10. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 30 caps
1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 5 caps
2. Stuart McInally VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 35 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 27 caps
4. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 24 caps
5. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 16 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 30 caps
8. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 12 caps
16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 48 caps
17. Allan Dell (London Irish) – 30 caps
18. Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 36 caps
19. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 40 caps
20. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 11 caps
22. Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) – 4 caps
23. Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) – 9 caps