Ford Returns To Face Italy

Rodd Ford is back at hookerEdinburgh Rugby hooker Ross Ford returns to the starting squad to face Italy this Saturday (kick-off 2.30) as a replacement for the injured Dougie Hall.

With Hall's availability uncertain, his Glasgow Warriors club-mate, Pat MacArthur, has been bracketed for the substitute hooker role with a decision to be made, pending Hall's fitness test, later this week.

The only other change to the first XV sees Robert Harley, the 22-year-old Glasgow Warriors forward,_ make his first start at Murrayfield and in the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Harley, who scored the match-winning try against Samoa on debut when he was introduced off the bench on the summer tour in the baking South Pacific heat, replaces the injured Alasdair Strokosch in the Scotland back-row.

Strokosch will be examined by a specialist surgeon at Spire Murrayfield Hospital today to determine whether he can play any further part in the championship after the eye socket damage he sustained at the weekend.

A product of Douglas Academy in Milngavie and the West of Scotland club, Harley has played age-grade rugby for Scotland, being a mainstay of the Scotland under-20 team in 2009 and 2010 and has also represented Scotland A. He has already undertaken captaincy duties with Glasgow Warriors.

Scotland team (sponsor RBS) to play Italy
Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 2.30pm)

15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) 11 caps

14 Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors) 1 cap

13 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) 72 caps
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby) 8 caps
11 Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby) 6 caps

10 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 16 caps

9 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby) vice captain 14 caps

1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors) vice captain 6 caps

2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) 64 caps, 2 tries
3 Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors) 50 caps
4 Richie Gray (Sale Sharks) 28 caps
5 Jim Hamilton (Gloucester) 42 caps
6 Robert Harley (Glasgow Warriors) 1 cap
7 Kelly Brown (Saracens) captain, 53 caps
8 Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier) 17 caps


16 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors) 40 caps
OR Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped
17 Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors) 15 caps
18 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby) 17 caps
19 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) 48 caps
20 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby) 10 caps
21 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps
22 Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors) 2 caps
23 Max Evans (Castres) 33 caps
Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson said: "I had the pleasure of working with Robert on our tour last summer.

"He's big and aggressive and he's been knocking on the door for selection for a wee while._ He deserves this chance as a reward for his club form.

"Italy's victory against France in Rome was well-deserved and certainly didn't surprise us._ It will be a true Test match this weekend and it would be great to have a big vocal Murrayfield crowd supporting the boys this weekend."

More than 45,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday's match and tickets are on sale at _30, _40 and _70 for adults and _15, _20 and _35 for students/under-18s via; on the 24-hour-credit card hotline 0844 335 3933 or in person from the Scottish Rugby Ticket Centre, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh.

Not considered due to injury: Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Peter Horne, Chris Cusiter, and Chris Fusaro (all Glasgow Warriors), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby) and Scott Lawson (London Irish).

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa). Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland) and Leighton Hodges (Wales). TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)