Scotland make four changes for game against Italy

Blair Kinghorn returns to Scotland line up
Blair Kinghorn returns to Scotland line up
©Steve Haag

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made four changes to the starting line up for the fifth and final round of the Six Nations game against Italy.

Injuries to Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell meant Ollie Smith will start at fullback for the Dark Blues while Blair Kinghorn will take the kicking responsibility forming a new halfback partnership with Ben White.

Jack Dempsey has again been named at number eight with James Ritchie moving to blindside and Hamish Watson on openside. Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Ben Healy and Cameron Redpath coming into the matchday squad providing impact on the bench.

The final change sees Sam Skinner returning to second row at the expense of Richie Gray, who is ruled out of the encounter.

"There are a lot of similarities to what happened in November," said Townsend.

"We had a 60-minute performance at a very level against New Zealand but didn't win that game. The week after, we were really focussed on a difficult opponent in Argentina and we played really well.

"If we can do something similar against Italy, that will give us a boost heading into the World Cup preparations."

Team line up:

Scotland: 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Ben White, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie (c), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman

Reserves: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 WP Nel, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Cameron Redpath