Scotland make 11 changes from squad which lost to Ireland
Vern Cotter has named Grant Gilchrist as his captain for the World Cup warm-up v Italy
Scotland’s Grant Gilchrist is tackled by Ireland’s Mike Ross and Ian Madigan. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters
Grant Gilchrist will finally get the chance to lead out Scotland when they face Italy in Turin on Saturday.
The giant Edinburgh lock has been named skipper for the World Cup warm-up clash with the Azzurri 10 months after injury cost him the captaincy ahead of last year’s autumn internationals.
Head coach Vern Cotter, meanwhile, has made 11 changes to the squad which lost 28-22 to Ireland last weekend as he looks to run the rule over more of his World Cup hopefuls at the Stadio Olimpico.
Of the changes, nine involve forwards — with the new-look back row to be selected from Adam Ashe, John Hardie, Alasdair Strokosch and Hamish Watson, none of whom were involved against Ireland. They have replaced John Barclay, Hugh Blake, Blair Cowan and David Denton.
The backs are kept relatively alike, with only uncapped duo Damien Hoyland and Rory Hughes joining the group in place of Dougie Fife and Tim Visser.
The Turin Test is the first of two back-to-back matches against the Azzurri, with the return leg at BT Murrayfield to come on August 29th. Cotter will then announce the final 31-man World Cup squad before concluding preparations against France in Paris on September 5th.
Backs: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby), Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Damien Hoyland (Edinburgh Rugby), Rory Hughes (Glasgow Warriors), Ruaridh Jackson (Wasps), Sean Lamont, Henry Pyrgos (both Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott, Greig Tonks (both Edinburgh Rugby), Richie Vernon, Duncan Weir (both Glasgow Warriors),
Forwards: Adam Ashe, Kevin Bryce, Mike Cusack (all Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Grant Gilchrist CAPTAIN (all Edinburgh Rugby), Richie Gray (Castres), Jim Hamilton (Saracens), John Hardie (unattached), Stuart McInally, Willem Nel (both Edinburgh Rugby), Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpigan), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby).