Weir makes long-awaited Scotland return against Italy
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Scotland boss Gregor Townsend has made four changes to his XV for Saturday’s Nations Cup match away to Italy in Florence.
The changes see the first start in four years to flyhalf Duncan Weir and recalling fit-again Sam Johnson.
Weir last wore the Scottish No10 jersey in a 2016 Six Nations defeat to Ireland in Dublin but he now returns due to the long-term injuries picked up by Finn Russell and Adam Hastings in the October 31 away Six Nations win at Wales.
Weir is one of three changes to the Scotland backline as there is also the inclusion of fit-again midfielder Johnson, who last featured in the March win over France, and recently eligible South African Duhan van der Merwe, who comes in on the left wing.
James Lang and Blair Kinghorn both drop to the bench. There is just one change in the pack, Stuart McInally in at hooker for Fraser Brown.
Townsend said: “It’s exciting to be a part of this new competition, and also to play in Florence for the first time. Italy recorded a famous win against South Africa in this stadium, and we are well aware of the quality they have in their squad that they can raise their game to a similar level this weekend.
“While we gained confidence from the win over Wales, we have been working hard to improve in all areas of our game, and we believe that there is a lot more to come from this group of players.
“The energy has been great at training and we are seeing real competition for places throughout our squad. We are looking forward to this squad grabbing their opportunity to play and take the game to the opposition.”
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Ali Price, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 WP Nel, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Nick Haining, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 James Lang, 23 Blair Kinghorn
Date: Saturday, November 14
Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
Kick-off: 13.45 (12.45 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson, Christophe Ridley
TMO: Wayne Barnes
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— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) November 11, 2020