Winless Scotland make three changes for Six Nations trip to Italy
EDINBURGH - Scotland have made three changes to their team for Saturday's Six Nations clash in Italy as they look for their first win of the tournament, coach Gregor Townsend said on Wednesday.
Hooker Stuart McInally, second row Ben Toolis and centre Chris Harris come into the side while flyhalf Finn Russell has been omitted again after being dropped for the first two games for disciplinary reasons.
Harris replaces Huw Jones, who did not even make the squad, while lock Toolis comes in for injured Jonny Gray. McInally, meanwhile, replaces Fraser Brown in the side.
"We believe Chris and Stuart deserve this opportunity," Townsend said. "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."
Scotland lost their opening two games against Ireland and England but claimed losing bonus points going into the match against the bottom side at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Italy's last win at the Six Nations came against Scotland at Murrayfield in Edinburgh in 2015 when they narrowly won 22-19.
The Scotland team is:
15-Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) (captain), 14-Sean Maitland (Saracens), 13-Chris Harris (Gloucester), 12-Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors), 11-Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), 10-Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), 9-Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), 1-Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh), 2-Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), 3-Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), 4-Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), 5-Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), 6-Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), 7-Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), 8-Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh)
Replacements: 16-Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), 17-Allan Dell (London Irish), 18-Willem Nel (Edinburgh), 19-Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), 20-Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), 21-George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), 22-Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), 23-Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks)Reuters