Tommy Seymour and Richie Gray have returned to the Scotland matchday fold with Gregor Townsend making five changes to his squad for their final Six Nations outing against Italy.
Glasgow Warriors wing Seymour is named in the back three alongside Stuart Hogg and Sean Maitland at the expense of Blair Kinghorn, having recovered from the back injury that kept him out of last weekend’s defeat to Ireland.
Gray, who has not featured for Scotland in over a year, and Zander Fagerson will be among the replacements in Rome, with Tim Swinson and WP Nel moving into the starting XV.
Townsend’s other alterations see Nick Grigg get a first Six Nations start in place of Pete Horne and Fraser Brown come in at hooker.
“We’ve had a deeper look at the Ireland game, where we performed well in areas that will have to be better this weekend,” said the head coach
BREAKING | Gregor Townsend has named five changes to the starting Scotland team to face Italy in Rome this Saturday.
Seymour back from injury, Grigg gets first championship start
Brown, Nel & Swinson promoted from the bench
R.Gray & Fagerson join the bench pic.twitter.com/DGTWkefpoW
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 14, 2018
“There were a number of positives in how we took the game to Ireland in attack and defence but this didn’t lead to us scoring enough points to win the game.
“We’ve been pleased with how the players have responded to last week’s disappointment, with the energy they have brought to training and a determination to improve our performance in our final match in this year’s Six Nations.
“Playing Italy will be a very tough game – it always has been for any Scotland side. We are ready for the challenge and have an experienced group of players working hard to finish our campaign with a positive performance and result.”
Italy will be without Maxime Mbanda after Zebre announced the flanker suffered ligament damage in his right knee during their loss to Wales in Cardiff.
Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Nick Grigg, Sean Maitland, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw; Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown, WP Nel, Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson.
Replacements: Stuart McInally, Jamie Bhatti, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray, David Denton, Ali Price, Pete Horne, Blair Kinghorn.
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