Scotland and Italy spherical off their Guinness Six Nations marketing campaign at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.
Here, the PA information company seems to be at some key speaking factors forward of the Edinburgh showdown.
Third place at stake for Scots
Victory will nearly actually see Scotland safe a third-place end within the championship for the primary time since 2018. It can even be the primary time since then they’ve gained three of their 5 matches. If that state of affairs involves cross, it means they are going to have come up brief solely in opposition to the 2 highest-ranked groups on the earth, Ireland and France, to allow them to start the countdown to the World Cup in a optimistic way of thinking.
No Hogg or Russell
Scotland haven’t gone right into a Six Nations match with out both of their two influential backs Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell since 2019. They will likely be lacking the pair this weekend as a consequence of accidents that compelled them off within the closing levels of final weekend’s defeat by Ireland. As it was in the summertime tour of South America, with a number of large names rested, the depth of the squad will likely be examined this weekend. Ollie Smith takes over from Hogg at full-back whereas Blair Kinghorn replaces Russell at stand-off.
Blair change mission continues
The versatile Blair Kinghorn was deployed within the quantity 10 jersey for 5 consecutive Tests final 12 months however, for the reason that return of Russell to the fold halfway by the Autumn Series, the plan to mould the Edinburgh man right into a stand-off choice for Scotland appeared to have been shelved. Kinghorn has been used extra usually from the bench as a full-back on this match and was as an alternative anticipated to take the place of Hogg at quantity 15, however Gregor Townsend has as soon as once more positioned his religion within the 26-year-old to tug the strings at fly-half. Given Russell’s glorious current kind, Kinghorn has large boots to fill and is bound to be carefully scrutinised.
First-choice locks out
Scotland are lacking one other influential duo within the form of second-rowers Grant Gilchrist, who’s suspended, and Richie Gray, who’s injured. Sam Skinner and Johnny Gray, who has deputised for Gilchrist since his purple card in Paris, are the 2 locks chosen to start out in opposition to Italy, with Scott Cummings, who got here on in opposition to Ireland final weekend, on the bench. The Scots are assured they’ve sufficient cowl to take care of the absence of the skilled duo.
Italy have misplaced all 4 of their matches to date, however they’re typically deemed to have been aggressive all through the marketing campaign, together with in opposition to the heavyweights of Ireland and France. They completed final season’s Six Nations with a headline-grabbing win away to Wales and will likely be hoping to assert some type of comfort this time spherical at BT Murrayfield, a stadium the place they’ve beforehand skilled victory in 2007 and 2015.