WP Nel among six Edinburgh players in Scotland team for Italy clash
Prop WP Nel is among six Edinburgh Rugby players named in the starting XV for Scotland's match against Italy in Singapore on Saturday.
Nel, who has recently recovered from neck surgery, is joined in an all Edinburgh front-row by hooker Ross Ford and prop Allan Dell, while club-mates Ben Toolis (second row), John Hardie (flanker) and Damien Hoyland (winger) also start.
Young back-row Magnus Bradbury has been named on the bench and the Edinburgh player is expected to be involved at some stage.
It is Gregor Townsend’s first match as head coach and he has made nine changes in total from the team that defeated Italy 29-0 in the Six Nations earlier this year.
There is a return to the international fold for centre Duncan Taylor, who has not played for Scotland since last year’s match against Japan due to injury.
Townsend said: “Throughout the team we have people getting their first opportunities for a while. It is pleasing to be able to include a few players that have recovered from injury and have worked hard to be available.
“We’re delighted to see WP Nel back fit for Scotland and full of confidence after playing a game for the Barbarians a couple of weeks back.
“Ben Toolis hasn’t been involved in a while and has earned the chance to start in the second-row, while Josh [Strauss] is back fit and raring to go. Similarly John Hardie has made a full recovery and played very well at the end of the season for Edinburgh.
“With two back-three players with the British & Irish Lions, Damien Hoyland gets a chance to start with Duncan Taylor who came back from injury for Saracens towards the end of the season. His experience and communication will be a real strength for the team on the weekend.”
Scotland team to face Italy in Singapore on Saturday, June 10, 1pm BST: Duncan Taylor; Damien Hoyland, Matt Scott, Alex Dunbar, Tim Visser; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Allan Dell, Ross Ford, WP Nel, Tim Swinson, Ben Toolis, John Barclay (c), John Hardie, Josh Strauss. Replacements: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Zander Fagerson, Rob Harley, Magnus Bradbury, Ryan Wilson, Henry Pyrgos, Pete Horne.