Scotland: Blair Kinghorn starts at 10 with Ollie Smith at 15 against Italy in the absence of Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg

Dylan Coetzee

Blair Kinghorn starts at fly-half for Scotland against Italy in the absence of star playmaker Finn Russell, who is ruled out of the clash after sustaining an injury against Ireland last weekend.

Stuart Hogg joins Russell on the sidelines, opening the door for Ollie Smith to start at full-back. Kyle Steyn and Duhan van der Merwe continue on the wings whilst popular centre pairing Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones retain their partnership in the midfield.

Scrum-half Ben White is rewarded for his good form and makes up the new half-back pairing with Kinghorn.

Solid pack

Jack Dempsey has again been named at number eight, with skipper Jamie Ritchie moving to blindside flank to give way to Hamish Watson on the openside.

The second-row concerns continue with Richie Gray ruled out, paving the way for Sam Skinner to line up with Jonny Gray. Hooker George Turner joins prop Pierre Schoeman and Zander Fagerson in the front-row.

On the pine, Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland and veteran WP Nel make up the front-row cover, whilst Scott Cummings and Matt Fagerson round out the forward options.

Ben Healy is in line for a Test debut should he be used against Italy, while Ali Price and Cameron Redpath are the other backline replacements.

The team

Scotland: 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Ben White, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie (c), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 WP Nel, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Cameron Redpath

Date: Saturday, March 18
Venue: Murrayfield
Kick-off: 12:30 GMT
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley (England), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)

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