Italy are looking for their first win of the tournament to avoid the Wooden Spoon
Scotland v Italy on Six Nations Super Saturday is billed to be a thrilling match.
Scotland had their best start to a Six Nations but then fell to defeats to Ireland and France. They will be looking to finish the tournament as they began it, with impressive wins.
Italy, meanwhile, are yet to win a match. Kieran Crowley‘s side have played well and pushed teams like France and Ireland. But after impressive performances they dropped off against England and Wales – two games they could have potentially won had they played as they did against France and Ireland.
Italy will want something to show for their improved form and a first win over Scotland since 2015 could do the trick. And with Scotland without their star fly-half Finn Russell and talisman Stuart Hogg, 2023 could be the year Italy get their Scottish scalp.
Here is everything you need to know about the match.
What is the team news for Scotland v Italy?
Scotland have made four changes to their starting XV. Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell are both out with injury and so Ollie Smith and Blair Kinghorn come into the team. They are among an otherwise unchanged back line with Huw Jones and Sione Tuipulotu the centre pairing.
Read more: Scotland Six Nations squad – Team to play Italy
In the forwards, Matt Fagerson is dropped to the bench with Hamish Watson coming in. And Richie Gray drops out of the matchday 23 with injury and makes way for Sam Skinner. From the bench Cameron Redpath is in line to make his first appearance of the championship. Munster’s Ben Healy also starts from the bench and could win his first cap if called upon.
Italy, meanwhile, have made four changes to their starting line-up. Wing Simone Gesi will have his Test debut against Scotland and Alessandro Fusco starts at scrum-half.
Related: Italy Six Nations squad – Team to play Scotland
Up front, Marco Ricconi comes in at prop and Edoardo Iachizzi is in the second row with Niccolò Cannone dropped to the bench. From the bench Marco Manfredi could win his first cap.
What have the coaches said?
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “We are very determined. We feel in a similar way as we did in November when we took on New Zealand and didn’t get the result. Italy will test us. They are playing outstanding attacking rugby. I think they have a defence which fills the field really well and will ask you questions. And they play with passion.”
Italy head coach Kieran Crowley said: “We were disappointed with the performance against Wales – we addressed that during the week and are looking forward to Saturday’s match against a very good team in Scotland.”
Any interesting statistics for Scotland v Italy?
- Scotland and Italy have played one another 34 times with Scotland winning 26 and Italy claiming eight
- The last time Italy defeated Scotland was in 2015
- If hooker Marco Manfredi wins his first cap against Scotland he will become the 23rd player to debut under Kieran Crowley
- Since the second game of the 2012 Six Nations, on only one occasion in 57 games have Scotland not had Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell playing together. That came in the 2019 match against France with Blair Kinghorn at full-back and Pete Horne started at fly-half.
What time does Scotland v Italy kick-off and is it on TV?
The game will kick-off at 12.30pm BST and fans in the UK can watch on BBC One or stream the game on iPlayer.
If you are a supporter outside of the UK, here’s how to watch the Six Nations from anywhere.
Australian Angus Gardner will take charge of the match with assistants Matthew Carley (RFU) and Craig Evans (WRU). The television match official is going to be Brett Cronan (RA).
Related: Six Nations referees
What are the line-ups?
Scotland: Ollie Smith; Kyle Steyn, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe; Blair Kinghorn, Ben White; Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Sam Skinner, Jonny Gray, Jamie Ritchie (captain), Hamish Watson, Jack Dempsey.
Replacements: Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland, Simon Berghan, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Ali Price, Ben Healy, Cameron Redpath.
Italy: Tommy Allan, Pierre Bruno, Juan Ignacio Brex, Tommaso Menoncello, Simone Gesi; Paolo Garbisi, Alessandro Fusco; Danilo Fischetti, Giacomo Nicotera, Marco Ricconi, Edoardo Iachizzi, Federico Ruzza, Sebastian Negri, Michele Lamaro (captain), Lorenzo Cannone.
Replacements: Marco Manfredi, Federico Zani, Marco Riccioni, Niccolò Cannone, Giovanni Pettinelli, Manuel Zuliani, Alessandro Garbisi, Luca Morisi
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