Laidlaw to lead Scotland against Italy

Date published: August 25 2015

Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw has been named as skipper in a 25-man squad that will prepare to face Italy at Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday.

The Gloucester half-back is one of 15 changes to the 25-man squad in front of what will be the largest crowd for a mid-year Test match at Murrayfield, overtaking the 2003 record set against Ireland (35,264).

The squad rotation means that almost an entirely new team could take to the field from that which overcame the Italians 16-12 in Turin, just two days before the 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup is announced.

Laidlaw is among six new faces available to the back division, with Glasgow Warriors' quartet Mark Bennett, Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell, and Tommy Seymour, and returning Harlequins' wing Tim Visser, all vying for a starting berth.

The nine changes to the pack feature two players yet to feature in their World Cup warm-up games – lock Jonny Gray and back-row Ryan Wilson – while the remainder return from the squad selected to face Ireland in the opening Test, namely John Barclay, Fraser Brown, Blair Cowan, David Denton, Rob Harley and Jon Welsh.

Lock Grant Gilchrist has recovered from the sickness that ruled him out of the Italy Test on the morning of the match and is available for selection this weekend, while a remaining nine – Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Peter Horne, Sean Lamont, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Henry Pyrgos, Gordon Reid and Matt Scott – return to complete the squad.

Scotland squad to face Italy

Forwards: John Barclay, Fraser Brown, Blair Cowan, David Denton, Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Robert Harley, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Ryan Wilson, Gordon Reid, Jon Welsh.

Backs: Mark Bennett, Stuart Hogg, Peter Horne, Greig Laidlaw (c), Sean Lamont, Finn Russell, Henry Pyrgos, Tommy Seymour, Greig Tonks, Matt Scott, Tim Visser.