Italy v Scotland: Vern Cotter makes wholesale changes

SCOTLAND head coach Vern Cotter has made 11 changes to the starting XV for this Saturday’s World Cup warm-up Test against Italy in Turin.

Vern Cotter: 11 changes. Picture: Ian Rutherford

There is almost an entirely new pack from the side that started the 28-22 loss to Ireland in Dublin last weekend, with seven new forwards and four changes in the backs. There are three new new caps in the team - openside flanker John Hardie, wing Rory Hughes and hooker Stuart McInally - with the uncapped duo of Edinburgh wing Damien Hoyland and newly-qualified South Africa-born prop WP Nel on the bench.

Hardie, the New Zealand-born flanker who was added to the extended squad last month, is part of a new-look back row alongside Alasdair Strokosch and No 8 Adam Ashe.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

British and Irish Lion Richie Gray partners skipper Grant Gilchrist in the second row.

A new half-back pairing of Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Duncan Weir leads a backline which includes a centre pairing of Matt Scott and Richie Vernon, with Edinburgh utility back Greig Tonks getting a run at full-back.

Scotland team to play Italy at Stadio Olimpico, Turin, on Saturday, 7pm BST, live on BT Sport

15 Greig Tonks (Edinburgh Rugby) – 5 caps

14 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) – 94 caps; 12 tries, 60 points

13 Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors) – 21 caps

12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby) – 26 caps, 3 tries, 15 points

11 Rory Hughes (Glasgow Warriors) - uncapped

10 Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps; 1 try, 5 cons, 6 pens, 1 drop

9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby) – 6 caps

1 Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps

2 Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped

3 Mike Cusack (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap

4 Richie Gray (Castres) – 44 caps; 2 tries, 10 points

5 Grant Gilchrist CAPTAIN (Edinburgh Rugby) – 9 caps, 1 try, 5 points

6 Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) – 44 caps, 2 tries, 10 points

7 John Hardie (unattached) – uncapped

8 Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps

Substitutes

16 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) – 86 caps; 2 tries, 10 points

17 Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 44 caps, 2 tries, 10 points

18 Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped

19 Jim Hamilton (Saracens) – 62 caps; 1 try, 5 points

20 Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 1 cap

21 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) – 14 caps; 3 tries, 15 points

22 Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps; 1 try, 1 con, 1 pen 10 points

23 Damien Hoyland (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped