The team news ahead of Scotland's last Six Nations tie of 2018 – away to Italy, in Rome

Scotland Six Nations Squad 2018
Gregor Townsend has rung the changes for his Scotland starting XV to play Italy  in the fifth and final round of the 2018 Six Nations, in Rome.
Fraser Brown and WP Nel start in the front-row, with Stuart McInally dropping to the bench and Simon Berghan out altogether, as Zander Fagerson nips in for a late bit of Six Nations action. With Grant Gilchrist gone, Tim Swinson starts at lock and Richie Gray makes the bench. Nick Grigg switches with Pete Horne, who is among the replacements and Tommy Seymour is back in team. Blair Kinghorn is dropped to the bench.

UPDATED: Scotland Team to play Italy in the Six Nations – Saturday 17 March

Hogg; Seymour, H Jones, Grigg, Maitland; Russell, Laidlaw; Reid, Brown, Nel, J Gray, Swinson, Barclay (captain) Watson, Wilson.

Replacements: McInally, Bhatti, Fagerson, R. Gray, Denton, Price, Horne, Kinghorn.

Related: Ireland 28-8 Scotland match report

Scotland Team to play Ireland in the Six Nations – Saturday 10 March

Hogg; Kinghorn, H Jones, Horne, Maitland; Russell, Laidlaw; Reid, McInally, Berghan, Gilchrist, Gray, Barclay (captain), Watson, Wilson.

Replacements: Brown, Bhatti, Nel, Swinson, Denton, Price, Grigg, L Jones.

Related: Scotland 25-13 England match report

Scotland Team to play England in Six Nations – Saturday 24 February

Hogg; Seymour, H Jones, Horne, Maitland; Russell, Laidlaw; Reid, McInally, Berghan, Gilchrist, Gray, Barclay (captain), Watson, Wilson.

Replacements: Lawson, Bhatti, Nel, Swinson, Denton, Price, Grigg, Kinghorn.

Related: Scotland 32-26 France match report

Scotland Team to play France in Six Nations – Sunday 11 February

Hogg; Seymour, H Jones, Horne, Maitland; Russell, Laidlaw; Reid, McInally, Berghan, Gilchrist, Gray, Barclay (captain), Watson, Wilson.

Replacements: Lawson, Bhatti, Nel, Swinson, Denton, Price, Grigg, Kinghorn.

Related: Wales 34-7 Scotland match report

Scotland Team to play Wales in Six Nations – Saturday 3 February

Hogg; Seymour, Harris, H Jones, McGuigan; Russell, Price; Reid, McInally, Welsh, Toolis, Gray, Barclay (captain), Watson, du Preez.

Replacements: Lawson, Bhatti, McCallum, Gilchrist, Wilson, Laidlaw, Horne, Maitland.

Related: Wales Six Nations Squad

Check out the Scotland Six Nations Fixtures.

Related: Six Nations TV Coverage

Scotland’s squad for the 2018 Six Nations contains five uncapped players in full-back Blair Kinghorn, scrum-half Nathan Fowles, prop Murray McCallum and hooker Neil Cochrane, all from the Edinburgh club, plus Glasgow prop D’Arcy Rae. The Warriors provide 16 of the 4o players, with Edinburgh and foreign clubs each supplying a dozen.

Blair Kinghorn

On board: Edinburgh’s Blair Kinghorn is one of five uncapped players in the squad (CameraSport)

Coach Gregor Townsend said: “It’s a bigger squad than we originally planned, which is largely down to the competition for places. A number of players performed well in the autumn Tests and a few others put their hands up for selection in recent weeks.
“We welcome Blair Kinghorn into our group for the first time, who has been in excellent form with Edinburgh this season, and also three of our most experienced players in Richie Gray, Greig Laidlaw and Scott Lawson. We are looking forward to working with them and the rest of the squad to ensure that we build on the momentum the players generated in 2017.”
Gregor Townsend and John Barclay

Gregor Townsend and John Barclay with the Hopetoun Cup after Scotland’s defeat of Australia (AFP)

The return of Gray, Lawson and former captain Laidlaw injects nearly 200 caps’ worth of experience into the set-up, with lock Gray (back surgery) and scrum-half Laidlaw (broken leg) having overcome injury.
Lawson’s summons comes after a three-year absence from the team and reflects an alarming number of setbacks in the front row, with George Turner the latest casualty. The Glasgow hooker damaged his medial knee ligament against Exeter last weekend and will be out for eight weeks, hence Cochrane’s late addition to the squad.
David Denton

Deserved recall: Worcester back-row David Denton has rediscovered his form of old (Getty)

Other notable inclusions are David Denton, Mark Bennett and Duncan Taylor, bringing proven know-how to the back row and midfield areas, while unsurprisingly John Barclay (Scarlets) retains the captaincy after a glorious autumn that included a record victory over the Wallabies and one of Scotland’s greatest performances against the All Blacks.
The back-line will look towards Lions tourists Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg to play with the flair and fluency that has illuminated Scottish rugby of late. Both were at the heart of Glasgow’s thrilling victory over Exeter that prevented the English champions and current Premiership leaders from advancing to the knockout stages of the European Cup.
Stuart Hogg v Samoa

Totem: Stuart Hogg has won the Player of the Championship award for the past two years (Getty)

Scotland came fourth in last year’s Six Nations, although that hardly does them justice. They produced scintillating performances to sink Ireland and Wales at Murrayfield, thrashed Italy on the same ground and were competitive in Paris, picking up a losing bonus point. Only at Twickenham, where they succumbed 61-21, were the Scots clearly outclassed and that drubbing led to them finishing below Ireland and France on points difference despite matching their 14 match points.
The last-round rout of the Azzurri was made more memorable for the emotional send-off to former coach Vern Cotter. If anyone that day doubted the wisdom of letting the popular Kiwi move on, those concerns have long been eradicated as Townsend’s side has played with courage and panache and got Murrayfield rocking again.
Ali Price v Wales

Bolt from the Blue: Ali Price on the charge during last year’s Murrayfield win against Wales (Getty)

Scotland Six Nations Squad 2018

Backs (19)
Mark Bennett (Edinburgh, 20 caps)
Alex Dunbar (Glasgow, 28 caps)
Nathan Fowles (Edinburgh, uncapped)
Nick Grigg (Glasgow, 1 cap)
Chris Harris (Newcastle, 1 cap)
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow, 55 caps)
Pete Horne (Glasgow, 28 caps)
Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow, 32 caps)
Huw Jones (Glasgow, 11 caps)
Lee Jones (Glasgow, 7 caps)
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh, uncapped)
Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne, 58 caps)
Sean Maitland (Saracens, 29 caps)
Byron McGuigan (Sale, 2 caps)
Ali Price (Glasgow, 11 caps)
Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow, 27 caps)
Finn Russell (Glasgow, 32 caps)
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow, 39 caps)
Duncan Taylor (Saracens, 21 caps)
Jonny Gray v NZ

High rise: Jonny Gray soars to win lineout ball (Ian Jacobs)

Forwards (21)
John Barclay (Scarlets, captain, 66 caps)
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh, 5 caps)
Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow, 3 caps)
Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh, 2 caps)
Neil Cochrane (Edinburgh, uncapped) *
David Denton (Worcester, 35 caps)
Cornell Du Preez (Edinburgh, 5 caps)
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh, 18 caps)
Jonny Gray (Glasgow, 38 caps)
Richie Gray (Toulouse, 64 caps)
Luke Hamilton (Leicester, 1 cap)
Rob Harley (Glasgow, 20 caps)
Scott Lawson (Newcastle, 46 caps)
Murray McCallum (Edinburgh, uncapped)
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh, 12 caps)
Gordon Reid (London Irish, 27 caps)
D’Arcy Rae (Glasgow, uncapped)
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh, 7 caps)
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh, 15 caps)
Jon Welsh (Newcastle, 11 caps)
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow, 32 caps)
* Replaces the injured George Turner

Six Nation Squad and Team News

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