Four XV changes for Scotland, including first start since March 2016 for Duncan Weir


Scotland boss Gregor Townsend has made four changes to his XV for Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup match away to Italy in Florence, handing a first start in four years to out-half Duncan Weir and recalling fit-again Sam Johnson. 

Weir last wore the Scottish No10 jersey in a 2016 Six Nations defeat to Ireland in Dublin but he now returns due to the long-term injuries picked up by Finn Russell and Adam Hastings in the October 31 away Six Nations win at Wales. 

Weir is one of three changes to the Scotland backline from the victory in Llanelli as there is also the inclusion of fit-again midfielder Johnson, who last featured in the March win over France, and recently eligible South African Duhan van der Merwe, who comes in on the left wing for his second start.

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James Lang and Blair Kinghorn both drop to the bench. There is just one change in the starting pack, Stuart McInally in at hooker for Fraser Brown. 

Townsend said: “It’s exciting to be a part of this new competition, and also to play in Florence for the first time. Italy recorded a famous win against South Africa in this stadium, and we are well aware of the quality they have in their squad that they can raise their game to a similar level this weekend.

“While we gained confidence from the win over Wales, we have been working hard to improve in all areas of our game, and we believe that there is a lot more to come from this group of players.

“The energy has been great at training and we are seeing real competition for places throughout our squad. We are looking forward to this squad grabbing their opportunity to play and take the game to the opposition.”

SCOTLAND (vs Italy, Saturday)
15. Stuart Hogg CAPTAIN (Exeter Chiefs) – 77 caps
14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 13 caps
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 20 caps
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) – 2 caps
10. Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors) – 28 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 34 caps
1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 9 caps
2. Stuart McInally VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 39 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 31 caps
4. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 14 caps
5. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) – 58 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 20 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 34 caps
8. Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – 6 caps

16. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
17. Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps
18. WP Nel (Edinburgh) – 38 caps
19. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 7 caps
20. Nick Haining (Edinburgh) – 4 caps
21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Exeter Chiefs) – 12 caps
22. James Lang (Harlequins) – 4 caps
23. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 23 caps



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