Townsend drops to the bench and is replaced by Thomas Glendinning in a reshuffle of the under-20s’ back-line, despite being among the points during last week’s heavy but ‘heartening’ defeat.
Working beside Murray Redpath at stand-off, the son of Scotland international coach Gregor, scored Scotland’s opening try but returns to the bench with Cammy Scott taking his shirt at stand-off and Glendinning stepping in to a centre role for his first start of the Six Nations.
Head coach Lineen is keen to utilise his squad during the championships with such short recovery spells between matches and makes seven changes in total.
Not amongst them though is Jamie Drummond who keeps his place after an impressive performance last week. The Ayrshire Bull secured four turnovers against England and he is tasked with a similar show against the Italians. Ollie Leatherbarrow, Scotland’s other try scorer last week, also keeps his spot opposite Archie Smeaton, returning after completing his exams at Cambridge University.
Lineen said: “There were some really good periods of play last week against England, and we played with a lot of heart and passion.
“Upfront a number of players impressed us and have earned their starting positions this week. In a tournament with such a short turnaround time it’s important we use our whole squad so there are a few changes in the backs where players get the opportunity for game time.
“Italy ran France close last weekend, and we know they will be a tough outfit. The team know they will need to convert the pressure that we’re applying into points to earn the win.”
The match is live on S4C Clic and YouTube.
Scotland U20 (v Italy U20, Thursday, 2pm, U20 Six Nations)
Scotland: 15. Elliot Gourlay; 14. Adam Scott; 13. Thomas Glendinning; 12. Scott King; 11. Finlay Callaghan; 10. Cameron Scott 9. Murray Redpath; 1. Cole Lamberton; 2. Jamie Drummond; 3. George Breese; 4. Max Williamson; 5. Alex Samuel; 6. Archie Smeaton; 8. Ben Muncaster; 7. Ollie LeatherbarrowSubstitutes: Patrick Harrison, Michael Jones, Olly Frostick, Euan Ferrie, Rhys Tait, Rory Jackson, Euan Cunningham, Christian Townsend, Michael Gray, Ross McKnight, Alex Clayton.