Scots’ five changes
Steyn set for first Six Nations start in Rome
Kyle Steyn will make his first Six Nations start for Scotland against Italy in Rome on Saturday.
The suspension handed to Duhan van der Merwe following his red card for Worcester against London Irish has opened the door for the Glasgow Warriors winger, who scored four tries in the win over Tonga in November.
Steyn’s inclusion is one of five changes made by Gregor Townsend as he looks to get back to winning ways after back-to-back to defeats from Wales and France.
Sam Johnson is recalled at centre, Hamish Watson and Matt Fagerson return to the back row, while hooker George Turner replaces Stuart McInally.
With the Scots wrapping up this year’s championship with away fixtures against the Italians and Ireland, Townsend is looking to finish on a high after a campaign which promised so much after the opening-day triumph over England.
“The tournament has not gone as we hoped or planned so far, that’s for sure,” said the head coach.
“We’ve suffered two defeats which are disappointing. We know in both those games we could have played better, specifically in the last game against France when there were some moments that could have changed the flow of the game if we’d made the most of them and not allowed France to make the most of their opportunities.
“That was frustrating. But we have two games, two big tests away from home, and the players are all set on working to deliver their best performance.
“We feel if we get our performance right, we’re a match for any team in the world. We know that going away against a full crowd is going to be another test of who we are and that’s what we aim to show this weekend.”
Scotland: Hogg; Graham, Harris, Johnson, Steyn; Russell, Price; Schoeman, Turner, Z Fagerson; Skinner, Gilchrist; Watson, Darge, M Fagerson. Replacements: McInally, Dell, Nel, Hodgson, Bradbury, Vellacott, Hastings, Tuipulotu.
Italy: Padovani, Bruno, Brex, Marin, Ioane, Garbisi, Braley; Halafihi, Lamaro (captain), Pettinelli, Ruzza, Cannone, Ceccarelli, Nicotera, Fischetti. Replacements: Luca Bigi, Ivan Nemer, Giosue Zilocchi, David Sisi, Manuel Zuliani, Alessandro Fusco, Marco Zanon, Ange Capuozzo.