Gregor Townsend has selected his Scotland side to face Italy in Rome on Saturday. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Six Nations: Scotland team to play Italy named - five changes as Finn Russell decision made

Scotland have made five changes for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations match against Italy but have stuck with Finn Russell.

The stand-off retains his place despite the decision this week to call Adam Hastings into the squad. Hastings is named among the replacements but there is no place in the match-day 23 for Blair Kinghorn.

Jonny Gray is also missing. The Exeter man was recalled on Monday after missing the France game through injury but the match in Rome may have come too soon for the experienced lock.

Kyle Steyn will replace the suspended Duhan van der Merwe on the left wing and make his first start for Scotland since scoring four tries against Tonga in the autumn.

Sam Johnson returns at inside centre, with Sione Tuipulotu dropping to the bench.

In the pack, George Turner is preferred to Stuart McInally as starting hooker.

Hamish Watson returns at openside flanker after missing the France game due to Covid. HIs inclusion sees Rory Darge move to six in place of the injured Nick Haining.

The final change is at No 8 where Matt Fagerson comes in for Magnus Bradbury. Fagerson injured his foot against Wales and was ruled out of the France match.

The uncapped scrum-half Ben Vellacott is named on the bench for the first time.

Kyle Steyn will replace the suspended Duhan van der Merwe on the left wing and make his first start for Scotland since scoring four tries against Tonga in the autumn.

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