Scotland team v Italy: Four changes for final Six Nations match as key men are ruled out

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Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg are both out of Scotland’s final Six Nations match of the campaign, as head coach Gregor Townsend makes four changes for the visit of Italy to BT Murrayfield.

Blair Kinghorn comes in at stand-off, with Ollie Smith starting at full-back after Russell and Hogg were ruled out due to injuries sustained in last week’s game against Ireland. In the pack, Sam Skinner comes into the second row, with Edinburgh’s Hamish Watson returning at openside flanker. Captain Jamie Ritchie reverts to blindside flanker to join Watson and No 8 Jack Dempsey in the back row.

Of the replacements, stand-off Ben Healy is in line to make his Scotland debut, with Ali Price and Cameron Redpath – who would make a first outing of this year’s championship – also included. As potential forward substitutes, Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland and WP Nel represent changes to the matchday squad from the last round, alongside Scott Cummings and Matt Fagerson.

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Scotland XV

Captain Jamie Ritchie reverts to blindside flanker to join Hamish Watson and No 8 Jack Dempsey in the back row. Picture: Ross MacDonald / SNSCaptain Jamie Ritchie reverts to blindside flanker to join Hamish Watson and No 8 Jack Dempsey in the back row. Picture: Ross MacDonald / SNS
Captain Jamie Ritchie reverts to blindside flanker to join Hamish Watson and No 8 Jack Dempsey in the back row. Picture: Ross MacDonald / SNS

Team to face Italy in the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 18 March at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh, kick-off 12:30pm GMT – live on BBC One:

15. Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors) 2 caps; 14. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) 9 caps, 13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 35 caps, 12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors) – Vice-Captain – 15 caps, 11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby) 27 caps; 10. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) 42 caps, 9. Ben White (London Irish) 13 caps; 1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) 20 caps, 2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) 34 caps, 3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 57 caps, 4. Sam Skinner (Edinburgh Rugby) 24 caps, 5. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) – Vice-Captain – 76 caps, 6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby) – Captain – 40 caps, 7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) 56 caps, 8. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) 8 caps.

Replacements: 16. Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks) 6 caps, 17. Rory Sutherland (Ulster Rugby) 22 caps, 18. WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) 53 caps, 19. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) 24 caps, 20. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 32 caps, 21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) 60 caps, 22. Ben Healy (Munster) uncapped, 23. Cameron Redpath (Bath Rugby) 4 caps.