Scotland make three changes for Six Nations game with Italy
Last Updated: 19/02/20 1:32pm
Scotland have made three changes for Saturday's Six Nations trip to Rome with Stuart McInally, Ben Toolis and Chris Harris coming into the starting line-up.
McInally is preferred to Fraser Brown at hooker with Toolis coming into the second row in place of Jonny Gray, who will miss the remainder of the tournament with a hand injury.
Gloucester centre Harris is promoted to the starting line-up, with Bryon McGuigan taking his place on the bench as Huw Jones drops out of the match-day 23.
There is no return for Finn Russell, who misses a third successive Six Nations game after breaching team protocol following an alleged late-night drinking session ahead of Scotland's tournament opener against Ireland.
"We believe Chris and Stuart deserve this opportunity," said Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend.
"They were very close to the starting XV when we entered this campaign. We think this is the right time for them to come in.
"Chris has been excellent for Gloucester this season and has continued to make improvements since the summer. He works very hard on both sides of the ball, which will be important this week.
"Stuart has shown over the past few weeks he's back to full fitness and is raring to go and Ben gets an opportunity to start following Jonny's injury against England."
Townsend has retained Glasgow duo Adam Hastings and Ali Price at half-back, with Sam Johnson partnering Harris in midfield.
Blair Kinghorn, who scored a hat-trick in last season's Six Nations win over Italy at Murrayfield, is named on the left wing with captain Stuart Hogg at full-back.
Scotland are without a win in six Six Nations matches while Italy have lost a record 24 games in a row in the competition.
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Blair Kinghorn, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price; 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 Stuart McInally, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Ben Toolis, 5 Scott Cummings, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Magnus Bradbury.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Allan Del, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Byron McGuigan.