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Six Nations: Scotland make five changes for Italy

Scotland winger Tommy Seymour returns from a back injury after missing the defeat in Dublin
Six Nations: Italy v Scotland
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Date: Saturday, 17 March Kick-off: 12:30
Coverage: BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 5 live extra, live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Scotland make five changes for the final Six Nations outing against Italy in Rome on Saturday.

Centre Nick Grigg makes his first start in the tournament, while winger Tommy Seymour returns from a back problem.

Hooker Fraser Brown is joined in the front row by WP Nel and lock Tim Swinson comes in.

Scotland are aiming to match last season’s tally of three victories, following home successes against France and England.

Peter Horne, Blair Kinghorn and Stuart McInally drop to the bench for Gregor Townsend’s men, with Simon Berghan and Grant Gilchrist out of the squad after last weekend’s loss in Dublin.

Richie Gray and Zander Fagerson, who have been missing through injury, are among the replacements in the Rome.

Number eight Ryan Wilson is fit to start after being withdrawn with a head injury against Ireland.

Grigg has featured twice as a replacement in this year’s competition

Italy are bottom of the table, without a Six Nations win since their visit to Murrayfield in 2015.

“We’ve had a deeper look at the Ireland game, where we performed well in areas that will have to be better this weekend,” said Townsend.

“There were a number of positives in how we took the game to Ireland in attack and defence but this didn’t lead to us scoring enough points to win the game.

“We’ve been pleased with how the players have responded to last week’s disappointment, with the energy they have brought to training and a determination to improve our performance in our final match.

“Playing Italy will be a very tough game – it always has been for any Scotland side. We are ready for the challenge and have an experienced group of players working hard to finish our campaign with a positive performance and result.”

Townsend’s reign as head coach began with a 34-13 victory against Italy in Singapore last June.

In the Six Nations, Scotland beat Italy 29-0 in Edinburgh last year and were 36-20 winners in Rome in 2016.

Scotland: Hogg, Seymour H Jones, Grigg, Maitland, Russell, Laidlaw, Reid, Brown, Nel, J Gray, Swinson, Barclay (capt) Watson, Wilson.

Replacements: McInally, Bhatti, Fagerson, R. Gray, Denton, Price, Horne, Kinghorn.

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