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Scotland make five changes for Italy clash

Scotland make five changes for Italy clash

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland v France - Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain - February 26, 2022 Scotland's Stuart Hogg converts a try Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

EDINBURGH : Scotland’s Matt Fagerson and Hamish Watson have returned to beef up the back row against Italy in the Six Nations in Rome on Saturday amongst five changes made by coach Gregor Townsend to the team beaten by France a fortnight ago.

Fagerson returns from injury while Watson missed out on the 36-17 rout by the French at Murrayfield after testing positive for COVID-19 on the eve of the test.

Townsend on Thursday also restored Sam Johnson to the lineup following his start at centre in the victory over England in Scotland’s opening game of this year’s Six Nations. They have since lost to Wales as well as France.

A suspension handed to Duhan van der Merwe after he was sent off playing for Worcester Warriors means Kyle Steyn wins a first Six Nations start. The Glasgow Warriors winger scored four tries in last November’s test win over Tonga.

Van der Merwe will miss the remainder of the Six Nations Championship after he was handed a three-week ban for his dismissal in Worcester's Premiership defeat at London Irish on Saturday.

In the front row, George Turner has been brought into the starting team, while among the replacements Ben Vellacott is in line to make his debut. The scrum-half has been capped for Scotland under-20s.

The 22-year-old Rory Darge switches from openside flanker to the blindside after his impressive performance against France in his first start for Scotland.

Team: 15-Stuart Hogg (capt.), 14-Darcy Graham, 13-Chris Harris, 12-Sam Johnson, 11-Kyle Steyn, 10-Finn Russell, 9-Ali Price, 8-Matt Fagerson, 7-Hamish Watson, 6-Rory Darge, 5-Grant Gilchrist, 4-Sam Skinner, 3-Zander Fagerson, 2-George Turner, 1-Pierre Schoeman

Replacements: 16-Stuart McInally 17-Allan Dell, 18-WP Nel, 19-Jamie Hodgson, 20-Magnus Bradbury, 21-Ben Vellacott, 22-Adam Hastings, 23- Sione Tuipulotu

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Alex Richardson and Ken Ferris)

Source: Reuters
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