Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has made seven personnel changes to his starting XV for the Guinness Six Nations match against Italy at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 20 March – kick off 2:15pm. Scott Steele Who used to Play for Dumfries saints will make his first start at number nine position with ex Stewartry RFC player Alex Craig starting on the bench.
A new-look line-up sees Captain Stuart Hogg start his first Scotland match at fly-half, with his fellow half-back Harlequins scrum-half Scott Steele making his first start for his country
Gloucester lock Alex Craig from Corsock in Dumfries and Galloway is line for his Scotland debut from the replacements as he is called into the matchday 23 for the first time.
A new-look line-up sees Captain Stuart Hogg start his first Scotland match at fly-half, with his fellow half-back Harlequins scrum-half Scott Steele making his first start for his country.
New combinations also start up front from the group who played against Ireland in the last round of the tournament.
Edinburgh hooker David Cherry makes his first start for Scotland and packs down with club teammate Rory Sutherland and Glasgow Warriors’ returning Zander Fagerson.
A new lock pairing sees Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist and Exeter Chief Sam Skinner come in for the injured duo of Scott Cummings and Jonny Gray, and it’s an unchanged back row of Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson and Matt Fagerson.
Sean Maitland of Saracens starts at full back and is supported in the back three by Edinburgh wingers Darcy Graham and Duhan van de Merwe.
Huw Jones – who scored off the bench against Ireland – starts alongside Glasgow Warriors teammate Sam Johnson in the centres.
Jamie Bhatti and Simon Berghan are joined by George Turner as front row cover, with Nick Haining among the forward options.
There is additional experience available in the backs selected with scrum-half Ali Price, Jaco van der Walt and Chris Harris and completing the squad.
Head Coach Gregor Townsend said: “Saturday is an opportunity for us to show an improved performance and a much truer reflection of who we are as a team. It’s also an opportunity for a number of players in their first start of the Championship.
“How we perform physically this weekend is going to be very important, both in terms of the energy and effort that is demanded from you each time you represent Scotland, and also our impacts in every contact. Whenever we play Italy, the contact area is fiercely contested and I’m sure this game will be no different.
“Italy have been playing ambitious rugby and have performed better away from home in this year’s championship, causing both England and France a number of problems. We expect them to produce their best rugby of the season against us, so we are focused on delivering a full 80-minute performance at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.”
Scotland team to play Italy at BT Murrayfield in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations
Saturday 20 March (kick-off 2:15pm) – live on BBC Sport
15. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 52 caps
14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 17 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) – 8 caps
10. Stuart Hogg CAPTAIN (Exeter Chiefs) – 83 caps
9. Scott Steele (Harlequins) – 3 caps
1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
2. David Cherry (Edinburgh) 3 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 36 caps
4. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 10 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 43 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 25 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 39 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 12 caps
16. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 15 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Bath Rugby) – 17 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 29 caps
19. Alex Craig (Gloucester) – Uncapped
20. Nick Haining (Edinburgh) – 6 caps
21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 40 caps
22. Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh) – 1 cap
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 26 caps