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VIDEO: Townsend changes flyhalves again

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Gregor Townsend has made four changes to the Scotland starting line-up to play Italy in the final round of the 2023 Six Nations at Murrayfield this Saturday.

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Blair Kinghorn is named at flyhalf, with Ollie Smith starting at fullback.

Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg are ruled out after sustaining injuries in last week’s game against Ireland.

In the pack, Sam Skinner comes into the second row, with Hamish Watson returning at openside flank.

Kinghorn will partner Ben White (scrumhalf) as part of a back division containing the same centre pairing of Sione Tuipulotu – named as a vice-captain – and Huw Jones for the fifth straight game.

Smith completes a back three that features wingers Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn, both of whom are also ever present in the 2023 championship.

Captain Jamie Ritchie reverts to blindside flank to join Watson and No.8 Jack Dempsey in the back row, with Jonny Gray, named again as vice-captain, lining up alongside Skinner in the second row.

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Scotland’s front row once more has George Turner at hooker, with loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman and Zander Fagerson (tighthead) joining forces as a unit for the third consecutive match.

Of the replacements, flyhalf 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 named.

As potential forward substitutes, Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland and Willem Nel represent changes to the matchday squad from the last round, alongside Scott Cummings and Matt Fagerson.

Scotland: 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Ben White, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie (captain), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Cameron Redpath.

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Date: Saturday, March 18
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 12.30 (13.30 Italian time; 12.30 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)

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