Injuries to Finn Russell and Adam Hastings mean Gregor Townsend will have to go back to his first choice without a half-and-half option and back to Duncan Ware, who is experiencing a late re-emergence of a career at Worcester. Ware also has some history after slotting the last-minute drop goal to win an incredibly tough game in 2014. Elsewhere on the backline, Sam Johnson returned to the center and started with a handful of wingers, Duhan van der Merwe.
The Italian election shows the continuation of Smith’s youth revolution in France. Jacopo Trula and Stephen Vannie are in the squad – both of whom played in the Under-20s earlier this year. They are alongside the green but promising Garbis, whose partnership with half-back Violi looks like a home side quest.
All eyes should be on the back row, though, as the two better units in Europe are ready to place pops next to each other. Jamie Ritchie was great at Lalanelli for his team to win, and with his partner Hamish Watson he can look forward to quite a ding-dong with Negri and Poledri. I’m definitely looking forward to it, anyway.
Italy: Matthew Minozzi; Jacopo Trula, Marco Janon, Carlo Kona, Mattia Bellini; Paolo Garbici, Marcelo Vaili; Danilo Fischetti, Luca Biggie (captain), Geoji Zilocchi, Marco Lazaroni, Nicco Cannon, Seb Negri, Bram Stein, Jack Poledri.
Replacement: Leonardo Ghiraldini, Simon Ferrari, Pietro Cacarelli, Johan Mayer, Maxim Mbanda, Stephen Verni, Tomaso Allan, Federico Mori.
Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain); Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Duhan van der Merwe; Duncan Ware, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, Stuart McIntyre, Gender Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Johnny Gray, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Blade Thomson.
Replacement: George Turner, Oli Cable, WP Nell, Sam Skinner, Nick Heining, Sam Hidalgo-Klein, James Lang, Blair Kinghorn.
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