Russell starts for Scotland

Date published: August 27 2015

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Scotland have named Finn Russell at fly-half for the first time in their Rugby World Cup warm-ups as they prepare to take on Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Sean Lamont is the only player retained from the XV that beat Italy 16-12 last week.

The 95-times capped Glasgow Warriors wing starts a third straight World Cup warm-up fixture, having been brought back into the squad as a replacement for Tommy Seymour who has back pain.

Lock Grant Gilchrist would have also been set for his third start of the warm-ups had sickness not ruled him out of last weekend's game on the morning of the match, however he is back in the engine room alongside Jonny Gray.

In the front-row, Edinburgh trio Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford and Willem Nel start the match after their impressive replacement appearance against Italy, with a powerful and dynamic back-row trio of John Barclay, David Denton and Ryan Wilson completing the pack.

Ford's appearance will see him overtake the appearance record for a Scotland forward that he shares with former lock Scott Murray, when he makes his 88th appearance for his country this Saturday.

In the back three, mainstay Lamont is joined by full-back Stuart Hogg and Harlequins' wing Tim Visser.

Glasgow Warriors' Peter Horne starts alongside team-mate Mark Bennett in midfield, while Russell and captain Greig Laidlaw will look to orchestrate proceedings at half-back.

"It's a good indication of our growing quality and depth that we're able to pitch another quite different, yet talented, side into battle this Saturday," said Scotland head coach Vern Cotter.

"Many of these players have worked hard all summer long and have had to wait patiently on the sidelines for this opportunity.

"They're keen to pull on the jersey, get out there, and put in a strong performance as part of a successful Scotland team."

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 David Denton, 7 John Barclay, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Matt Scott.

Date: Saturday, August 29
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 15:15 local (14:15 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Mathieu Raynal (France)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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