Scotland make wholesale changes
August 16, 2011
Graeme Morrison is given another chance to impress boss Andy Robinson © PA Photos
Scotland boss Andy Robinson has rung the changes for Saturday's clash with Italy and has retained just one player from the XV which edged Ireland on August 6.
Glasgow Warriors centre Graeme Morrison is the sole survivor from the 10-6 win and he will be partnered in the centres by Nick de Luca - who scored the opening try in Scotland's 21-8 win over the Azzurri back in March. The 27-year-old centre impressed coming off the bench against Ireland and played a key part in Joe Ansbro's match winning try.
Elsewhere, Simon Danielli - who marked his Scotland debut with a try against Italy eight years ago - is partnered on the wing by soon-to-be Castres back Max Evans. Rory Lamont marks his first international game of the year by coming into the side at fullback. The experienced duo of Dan Parks and Mike Blair will take the reins at half-back for the Scots.
In the engine room, Alastair Kellock resumes captaincy alongside Nathan Hines in the second-row. They will look for accurate line-out ball from Scott Lawson who will be partnered in the front row by Alasdair Dickinson and Moray Low. Saracens' Kelly Brown takes the back-row berth alongside new Sale signing Richie Vernon and established openside John Barclay.
On the bench, two players who have seemingly won their fight against injury - Chris Cusiter (calf) and Euan Murray (Achilles) - will hope to impress if given the chance.
Robinson will name his 30-man squad on Monday and following the Test against Ireland just under a fortnight ago he has had just 160 minutes to run his eye over the hopefuls. Despite a lack of intense match action, Robinson has emphasised the need for his charges to impress come Saturday.
"We have made 14 changes from the team that started against Ireland as we want to give those players who have been working very hard in training the opportunity to put that into practice in Saturday's Test match against Italy," said Robinson.
"Historically Scotland have found Italy very tough opponents and it was no surprise to us that they achieved one of the results of the RBS 6 Nations Championship earlier this year when they accounted for France in Rome.
"We knew we had to be at our best when we faced them next up after their success against France and I was pleased with the way our forwards in particular fronted up at setpiece back in March."
"It was encouraging to emerge with a win against Ireland and also that our defence did not yield a try. As ever our aim is to improve on that last showing and I believe that Italy will prove ideal opponents ahead of our opening Rugby World Cup matches against Romania and Georgia."
Scotland: Rory Lamont (Toulon), Max Evans (Castres), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues), Mike Blair (Edinburgh); Alasdair Dickinson (Sale Sharks), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Nathan Hines (Clermont Auvergne), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens), John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks)
Replacements: Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons), Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Nikki Walker (Ospreys)
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