Five changes for Scotland to take on Italy

International
AFP
by AFP

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend on Wednesday announced five changes to his line-up for this weekend's Six Nations clash against Italy as he looks to end their campaign on a high. 

The Dark Blues' faint title hopes were extinguished with defeat to Ireland last week but they will be keen to propel themselves up the table with victory against the tournament's whipping boys after wins against France and England.

Wing Tommy Seymour returns from injury to replace Blair Kinghorn in Rome on Saturday, while centre Nick Grigg makes his first championship start as he takes the place of Pete Horne, whose blunder put Ireland on their way to victory in Dublin.

Townsend has made three further changes to the pack, with hooker Fraser Brown, prop Willem Nel and lock Tim Swinson all promoted from the bench in place of Stuart McInally, Simon Berghan and Grant Gilchrist.

Lock Richie Gray and prop Zander Fagerson could also make their first appearances of the campaign, having shrugged off injuries to be named among the substitutes.

"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," said Townsend.

"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."

"Playing Italy will be a very tough game -- it always has been for any Scotland side," he added. "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."

TEAM

Scotland team to play Italy

15. Stuart Hogg

14. Tommy Seymour

13. Huw Jones

12. Nick Grigg

11. Sean Maitland

10. Finn Russell

9. Greig Laidlaw,

8. Ryan Wilson

7. Hamish Watson

6. John Barclay (c)

5. Jonny Gray

4. Tim Swinson

3. Willem Nel

2. Fraser Brown

1. Gordon Reid

Reserves:

16. Stuart McInally

17. Jamie Bhatti

18. Zander Fagerson

19. Richie Gray 

20. David Denton

21. Ali Price

22. Pete Horne

23. Blair Kinghorn