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Six Nations – Scotland v Italy Preview, Stats & Tips – Saturday March 18th

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Scotland v Italy, Saturday March 18 (12.30pm)

Blair Kinghorn will get another chance to impress at stand-off after being given the nod to start
in the Scotland number 10 jersey in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations match at home to Italy.

Kinghorn gets his chance following injury to Finn Russell and we are backing him to help
Scotland finish off an impressive campaign with a Murrayfield win over the Italians.

Round one results:

  • England 23 Scotland 29
  • Italy 24 France 29
  • Wales 10 Ireland 34

Round two results:

  • Ireland 32 France 19
  • Scotland 35 Wales 7
  • England 31 Italy 14

Round three results:

  • Italy 20 Ireland 34
  • Wales 10 England 20
  • France 32 Scotland 21

Round four results:

  • Italy 17 Wales 29
  • England 10 France 53
  • Scotland 7 Ireland 22

Team news

Versatile Edinburgh back Kinghorn played in the role on six consecutive occasions last year and
appeared to have become Gregor Townsend’s favoured fly-half option before Russell returned
to the scene midway through the autumn Tests and reclaimed the position with a string of
stunning displays.
With Russell and Stuart Hogg both ruled out by injuries picked up against Ireland last weekend,
it was widely assumed that 26-year-old Kinghorn – who has been used as a replacement full-
back in recent matches – would instead take over in the number 15 jersey, with Munster’s Ben
Healy perhaps in line to play at stand-off.
However, Townsend has chosen to give Kinghorn another chance at 10, with Glasgow’s Ollie
Smith filling in for Hogg at full-back.

The third enforced change to the starting XV sees Edinburgh lock Sam Skinner take the place of
Richie Gray, who suffered a blow to the ribs against Ireland last Sunday.
In the only unenforced alteration to the starting line-up, Edinburgh flanker Hamish Watson
comes in for Matt Fagerson, who drops to the bench.
Uncapped Munster fly-half Healy is named among the replacements, while Cam Redpath is on
the bench for the first time in the tournament.

In the Azzurri camp, it was clear Italy missed the cutting edge of Ange Capuozzo against Wales,
where they created a host of opportunities and did not capitalise.
It has been a promising yet frustrating campaign for head coach Kieran Crowley, who is clearly
sick of his team being seen as impressive developers without any results in the green to show

Talented Italian fly-half Paolo Garbisi, however, is delighted with the style of rugby the team is
playing despite their lack of wins.
“Italy haven’t played this brand of rugby before and it’s something different,” said Garbisi on the
Rugby Pod. “It was a challenge for us at the beginning but now it is fun because you see how
you can really break defences with this system having all these opportunities, having all the
players around you and having so many different options, you can see it actually works on the
field. This is why it is fun.”

Never write off a team like Italy, who will welcome the sidelining of Russell and Hogg. But it is
another big Test at Murrayfield that Scotland will be expected to win.

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