Preview: Scotland v Italy

Preview: Scotland v Italy

Scotland and Italy kick off Super Saturday with both sides looking to improve their position in the final standings of this year’s Championship.

A win for Scotland would see them secure just a second top three finish in 10 years, while Italy know they must win to have any chance of overtaking Wales at the foot of the table.

The Azzurri are looking to repeat the magic of 2015 to secure a first win in this year’s Championship, when a late penalty try resulted in a 22-19 triumph.

Both coaches have made four changes ahead of their latest meeting at BT Murrayfield, with a host of key personnel missing from either side.

The hosts are without Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, while Italy are again mourning the absence of superstar full-back Ange Capuozzo.

Team News

Ollie Smith will make his Guinness Six Nations debut and only his third Scotland appearance in Round 5.

Smith and Blair Kinghorn start in place of Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell in Edinburgh, with the latter pair ruled out after sustaining injuries in the defeat by Ireland.

Sam Skinner comes into the second row for his first start of this year’s Championship, while Hamish Watson starts at openside flanker, with captain Jamie Ritchie switching back to the blindside.


Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Cameron Redpath and the uncapped Ben Healy have all been added to the squad as replacements, while Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan and Chris Harris miss out.

Italy meanwhile, hand a debut to winger Simone Gesi with replacement hooker Marco Manfredi also in line for a first appearance.

Alessandro Fusco makes his first Championship start at scrum-half, partnered with Paolo Garbisi in the halfback positions.

Second row Edoardo Iachizzi and prop Marco Riccioni return to the XV, while Tommaso Allan continues at full-back in the absence of Ange Capuozzo.

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

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

Italy: 15. Tommaso Allan, 14. Pierre Bruno, 13. Juan Ignacio Brex, 12. Tommaso Menoncello, 11. Simone Gesi, 10. Paolo Garbisi, 9. Alessandro Fusco, 1. Danilo Fischetti, 2. Giacomo Nicotera, 3. Marco Riccioni, 4. Edoardo Iachizzi, 5. Federico Ruzza, 6. Sebastian Negri, 7, Michele Lamaro, 8. Lorenzo Cannone

Replacements: 16. Marco Manfredi, 17. Federico Zani, 18. Pietro Ceccarelli, 19. Niccolo Cannone, 20. Giovanni Pettinelli, 21. Manuel Zuliani, 22. Alessandro Garbisi, 23. Luca Morisi

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