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Watson back in the Scotland team as Townsend makes five changes

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by PA)

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Gregor Townsend has reacted to the heavy 36-17 round three Guinness Six Nations defeat to France by naming a Scotland starting team to face Italy this Saturday in Rome that shows five changes from their February 26 Murrayfield loss.

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Sam Johnson replaces the benched Sione Tuipulotu in midfield while Kyle Steyn comes in for the suspended Duhan van der Merwe on the left wing.

In the pack, George Turner is at hooker in place of the demoted Stuart McInally, Hamish Watson returns to openside with Rory Darge switching to blindside where Nick Haining loses out while Matt Fagerson is back at No8 in place of Magnus Bradbury.

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On the bench, Scotland have gone for a five forwards/three backs split with scrum-half Ben Vellacott in line to make his debut.

Scotland team (vs Italy, Saturday)
15. Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs – (Captain) – 91 caps
14. Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 25 caps
13. Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 34 caps
12. Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 22 caps
11. Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors – 3 caps
10. Finn Russell – Racing 92 – (Vice-Captain) – 61 caps
9. Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 49 caps
1. Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – 7 caps
2. George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 23 caps
3. Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 45 caps
4. Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 18 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – (Vice-Captain) – 51 caps
6. Rory Darge – Glasgow Warriors – 2 caps
7. Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 47 caps
8. Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 19 caps

Replacements
16. Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 46 caps
17. Allan Dell – London Irish – 32 caps
18. WP Nel – Edinburgh Rugby – 46 caps
19. Jamie Hodgson – Edinburgh Rugby – 4 caps
20. Magnus Bradbury – Edinburgh Rugby – 17 caps
21. Ben Vellacott – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
22. Adam Hastings – Gloucester Rugby – 25 caps
23. Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors – 4 caps

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