Gilchrist to lead Scotland in Italy

Date published: August 18 2015

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter will test another captain and back-row as part of a rotated Scotland squad named to face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico this Saturday.

Second row Grant Gilchrist will skipper the squad which features 11 adjustments – nine in the pack – with the new-look loose forwards to be selected from Adam Ashe, John Hardie, Alasdair Strokosch and Hamish Watson, none of whom were involved against Ireland. They have replaced John Barclay, Hugh Blake, Blair Cowan and David Denton.

The five remaining changes up front sees Kevin Bryce, Alasdair Dickinson, Richie Gray, Stuart McInally and Willem Nel come in for Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, Ryan Grant, Rob Harley, and Jon Welsh.

Conversely, the backs are relatively unchanged, with uncapped duo Damien Hoyland and Rory Hughes joining the group in place of Dougie Fife and Tim Visser.

The Scotland team will then announce the final 31-man squad for Rugby World Cup 2015 before concluding preparations against France in Paris on Saturday 5 September.

Scotland squad to face Italy:

Backs: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh, Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Damien Hoyland (Edinburgh), Rory Hughes (Glasgow Warriors), Ruaridh Jackson (Wasps), Sean Lamont, Henry Pyrgos (both Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott, Greig Tonks (both Edinburgh), Richie Vernon, Duncan Weir (both Glasgow Warriors),

Forwards: Adam Ashe, Kevin Bryce, Mike Cusack (all Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Grant Gilchrist (c) (all Edinburgh), Richie Gray (Castres), Jim Hamilton (Saracens), John Hardie (unattached), Stuart McInally, Willem Nel (both Edinburgh), Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpigan), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh).