Scotland make three changes for Italy encounter

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made three changes to the starting line-up for the third round of the Six Nations clash against Italy.

Huw Jones drops out of matchday squad with Chris Harris taking his place at outside centre while Fraser Brown moves to the bench with Stuart McInally taking his place at hooker.

The final change sees injured Jonny Gray missing the encounter allowing Ben Toolis to partner with Scott Cummings at second row. Darcy Graham will continue to be on the sidelines after failing to recover from a knee injury.

“We believe Chris [Harris] and Stuart [McInally] deserve this opportunity. They were very close to the starting fifteen when we entered this campaign. We think this is the right time for them to come in," said Townsend.

“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 [McInally] 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.

“Second-row is a position we have a lot of competition with a number of very good players available for selection. We’re looking forward to seeing how he combines again with Scott [Cummings] after a successful outing together against Russia in the World Cup.”

Scotland are at the fifth place in the Six Nations table after losing both their games in the opening two rounds.

Scotland starting line-up: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Blair Kinghorn, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price; 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 Stuart McInally, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Ben Toolis, 5 Scott Cummings, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Magnus Bradbury.

Reserves: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Allan Del, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Byron McGuigan.

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