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Townsend makes three changes to Scotland side

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made three changes to his side’s starting line-up for their clash against Italy in Rome in the penultimate round of the Six Nations.

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Those three changes see Andy Christie, Cameron Redpath and George Horne all start, having been replacements in the victory over England on February 24.

Grant Gilchrist and Scott Cummings link up in the second row once more, the former named as vice-captain.

For the fourth match in succession, and eighth in the championship since last year’s meeting with Wales, Scotland’s front row forwards comprise of George Turner at hooker, Pierre Schoeman and Zander Fagerson.

Among the backs Huw Jones have been named at inside centre after Sione Tuipulotu was ruled out of the remaining matches through injury.

Scrumhalf Horne gets the nod to partner with co-captain Finn Russell.

Fresh from his scintillating hat-trick against England, Duhan van der Merwe is part of an unchanged back three with fellow wing Kyle Steyn and Blair Kinghorn, who occupies the fullback berth.

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Townsend has opted with a 6-2 split on the bench which sees Ewan Ashman (hooker), Alec Hepburn and Elliot Millar-Mills (loose and tighthead respectively) and Sam Skinner, whilst Jamie Ritchie and Matt Fagerson also provide replenishments.

The two backs that will warm the bench are scrumhalf Ali Price, who would make a first championship appearance of the campaign, and the versatile Kyle Rowe.

Scotland: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell (captain), 9 George Horne, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge (captain), 6 Andy Christie, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turners, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Elliot Millar-Mills, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Jamie Ritchie, 21 Matt Fagerson, 22 Ali Price, 23 Kyle Row

Date: Saturday, March 9
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kick-off: 15.15 (14.15 UK & Ireland time; 14.15 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (England), Adam Leal (England)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)

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