Scotland head coach Townsend shakes up side for Italy finale
The Dark Blues’ faint title hopes were extinguished with defeat to Ireland last weekend.
Gregor Townsend has rung the changes to his Scotland line-up as they look to end the NatWest 6 Nations on a high against Italy on Saturday.
The Dark Blues’ faint title hopes were extinguished with defeat to Ireland last weekend so Townsend has decided to freshen up his starting XV, making five alterations to the side that will kick-off in Rome.
Wing Tommy Seymour returns from injury to replace Blair Kinghorn – who marked his first international start with a try in that 28-8 defeat in Dublin.
BREAKING | Gregor Townsend has named five changes to the starting Scotland team to face Italy in Rome this Saturday.— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 14, 2018
➡️ 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
Glasgow centre Nick Grigg also makes his first Championship start as he takes over from Pete Horne, who has paid the price the blunder which sent Joe Schmidt’s men on their way to victory, as he drops to the bench.
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 amongst the substitutes.
Scotland head coach Townsend, said: “We’ve had a deeper look at the Ireland game, where we performed well in areas that will have to be better this weekend.
“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 NatWest 6 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.”