David Denton dropped for clash with Italy

Denton was one of Scotland's better performers against England
Denton was one of Scotland's better performers against England
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Edinburgh Rugby star Dave Denton was today sensationally dropped by Scotland for Saturday’s crucial Six Nations visit to Italy.

The axing of a back rower many considered Scotland’s best player in the 0-20 loss to England, had been heavily trailed, however, it still comes as a shock albeit there were calls for a place to be found for his replacement Johnnie Beattie.

More predictable given the appalling performance of the line-out so far is the return of Richie Gray for Tim Swinson at second row while Scott Lawson swaps places with Ross Ford, who drops down to the bench.

Missing from the squad that played England is Gray’s younger brother Jonny whose substitute role falls to Swinson.

Denton also finds himself on the bench ready to take an impact role but there is no place for Kelly Brown whose removal from the entire squad after being named captain for the start of the tournament has caused an outcry.

Under-fire head coach Scott Johnson said: “We’ve made the changes to the pack with a view to improving the supply and quality of possession.

“Italy are formidable opponents, especially in Rome, and Scotland’s matches against them in recent years have been a real arm wrestle.

“We’re all hurting at the results of the first two games but the players we’ve chosen have the chance to do something that can make our supporters proud this weekend.”

Scotland: Hogg, Seymour, Dunbar, Scott, Lamont, Weir, Laidlaw (c), Grant, Lawson, Low, R Gray, Hamilton, Wilson, Beattie, Fusaro. Subs: Ford, Dickinson, Cross, Swinson, Denton, Cusiter, Taylor, Evans.