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Weir to start at fly-half for Scotland in Florence

Weir to start at fly-half for Scotland in Florence

Weir to start at fly-half for Scotland in Florence

Duncan Weir will start at fly-half for Scotland in their Autumn Nations Cup opener against Italy in Florence on Saturday.

The Worcester Warriors stand-off is to win his 29th cap for Scotland, who are without Finn Russell and Adam Hastings for the duration of the tournament through injury, and represents one of four changes to the side that beat Wales in the Six Nations finale on October 31.

Head coach Gregor Townsend has made two other alterations to the backline, with Sam Johnson making his first appearance of the autumn at inside centre and Duhan van der Merwe coming in for Blair Kinghorn on the wing.

The remaining change is in the pack as Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally replaces the injured Fraser Brown.

McInally will pack down with Zander Ferguson and Rory Sutherland in the front row, with Jonny Gray and Scott Cummings behind them.

Jamie Ritchie, man of the match in Scotland’s victory in Llanelli, is part of an unchanged back row alongside Hamish Watson and Blade Thomson.

Stuart Hogg captains the side from full-back in what will be his 78th cap, while his Exeter Chiefs teammates Sam Skinner and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne are named among the replacements as they look to make their first Scotland appearances of the autumn.

Townsend said: “It’s exciting to be a part of this new competition, and also to play in Florence for the first time.

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“Italy recorded a famous win against South Africa in this stadium, and we are well aware of the quality they have in their squad that they can raise their game to a similar level this weekend.

“While we gained confidence from the win over Wales, we have been working hard to improve in all areas of our game, and we believe that there is a lot more to come from this group of players.

“The energy has been great at training and we are seeing real competition for places throughout our squad. We are looking forward to this squad grabbing their opportunity to play and take the game to the opposition.”

Scotland team to play Italy

15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) – 77 caps CAPTAIN

14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 13 caps

13. Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 20 caps

12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps

11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) – 2 caps

10. Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors) – 28 caps

9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 34 caps

1.Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 9 caps

2. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 39 caps

3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 31 caps

4. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 14 caps

5. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) – 58 caps

6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 20 caps

7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 34 caps

8. Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – 6 caps

Replacements

16. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps

17. Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps

18. WP Nel (Edinburgh) – 38 caps

19. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 7 caps

20. Nick Haining (Edinburgh) – 4 caps

21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Exeter Chiefs) – 12 caps

22. James Lang (Harlequins) – 4 caps

23. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 23 caps

 

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