Scotland and Italy look for World Cup pointers
August 18, 2011
Scotland boss Andy Robinson has opted to rotate his options for their latest clash with Italy © PA Photos
Scotland and Italy have both made wholesale changes ahead of their Rugby World Cup warm-up clash at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Coach Andy Robinson has has retained just one player from the XV that edged Ireland on August 6 with centre Graeme Morrison the sole survivor from that 10-6 win. He will be partnered in midfield by Nick de Luca, who scored the opening try in Scotland's 21-8 victory 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 named on one wing with soon-to-be Castres back Max Evans on the other. Rory Lamont makes his first international appearance of the year at fullback while the experienced duo of Dan Parks and Mike Blair will take the reins at half-back.
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 lines up in the front row alongside 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.
Italy coach Nick Mallett has made 11 changes to his starting line-up with captain and No.8 Sergio Parisse, centre Tommaso Benvenuti, hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini and prop Andrea Lo Cicero retained in the wake of a narrow 31-24 victory over Japan last weekend.
Andrea Masi returns at fullback having not featured since leaving the field after only half an hour of the Six Nations clash between the sides in Edinburgh five months ago. Mirco Bergamasco is also back on the left wing after missing the weekend game in which Japan recovered from going 14-0 down to lead 17-14 at half-time before Italy eventually prevailed by four tries to three.
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)
Italy: A Masi (MPS Aironi); T Benvenuti (Benetton Treviso), G Canale (Clermont-Auvergne), Gonzalo Garcia (Benetton Treviso), Mirco Bergamasco (Racing-Metro Paris); L Orquera (MPS Aironi), F Semenzato (Benetton Treviso); A Lo Cicero (Racing-Metro Paris), L Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester), CA Del Fava (MPS Aironi), C Van Zyl (Benetton Treviso), P Derbyshire (Benetton Treviso), R Barbieri (Benetton Treviso), S Parisse (Stade Francais, capt).
Replacements: T D'Apice (MPS Aironi), L Cittadini (Benetton Treviso), M Bortolami (MPS Aironi), A Zanni (Benetton Treviso), P Canavosio (Cammi Calvisano), R Bocchino (Estra I Cavalieri Prato), M Pratichetti (MPS Aironi).
Referee: Dave Pearson (England)
Assistant referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland), Robin Goodliffe (England)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action
The latest Week in Pictures takes in some original ways of welcoming teams to the field and plenty of tries from the European Champions Cup