Gregor Townsend changes five for final encounter against Italy

Tommy Seymour returns to start out wide against Italy

Tommy Seymour returns to start out wide against Italy

Gregor Townsend has made five changes to his Scotland line-up as they look to
end their Six Nations campaign on a high against Italy on Saturday.

Scotland’s faint title hopes were extinguished with defeat to Ireland last weekend, so Townsend has decided to freshen up his starting XV for the match 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.

Glasgow centre Nick Grigg also makes his first Championship start as he takes over from Pete Horne, who 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 among the substitutes.

Gregor Townsend has been pleased with his players' response to their loss in Dublin
Gregor Townsend has been pleased with his players’ response to their loss in Dublin

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 Six Nations.

“Playing Italy will be a very tough game – it always has been for any Scotland side,” added the head coach.

“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.”

Scotland side to face Italy: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Nick Grigg, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 1 Gordon Reid, 2 Fraser Brown, 3 Willem Nel, 4 Tim Swinson, 5 Jonny Gray, 6 John Barclay (c), 7 Hamish Watson 8 Ryan Wilson.

Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Richie Gray, 20 David Denton, 21 Ali Price, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Blair Kinghorn.

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