Trio return to Scotland starting team

Scotland have made three changes in their starting team for their 11th and final international of the season against Italy in Pretoria on Saturday.

In the backs Ruaridh Jackson has not recovered sufficiently from the shoulder injury he sustained against South Africa in Nelspruit last weekend, therefore Tom Heathcote will win his third cap at stand-off.

In the pack Alastair Kellock wins his 55th cap in the second-row for Jim Hamilton, who has returned home for the birth of his second child, and David Denton replaces the injured Ryan Wilson in the back-row.

On the bench Grant Gilchrist, Rob Harley and Tim Visser are introduced.

Scotland head coach Scott Johnson said: “This is the end of a long season for both the northern hemisphere teams in this tournament and, as I’ve said, before we want no rocks under our beach towels after Saturday’s game.

“I was encouraged by our performance against South Africa last week but having set that standard we have to ensure that we build upwards from it against Italy.

Laidlaw to captain team 

“When we gathered in camp in Perthshire last month I said that this tour would be about broadening our base and that we’d find out about whether certain players were ready to play international rugby.

“That has happened and we’ll take a lot from that but we also want to end the tournament on a high against an Italian team that we know well and that we respect greatly.”

Scotland defeated Italy 34-10 at Murrayfield in February and the RBS man of the match that day, Greig Laidlaw, will captain Scotland for a second time on Saturday. 

Scotland team (sponsor RBS) to play Italy at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria on Saturday 22 June, kick-off 2.15pm local time (1.15pm BST).

15 Peter Murchie (Glasgow Warriors) 1 cap

14 Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) 1 cap
13 Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) 2 caps, 1 try, 5 points
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby) 14 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
11 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) 78 caps, 10 tries, 50 points

10 Tom Heathcote (Bath Rugby) 2 caps
9 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby) CAPTAIN 20 caps, 2 tries, 18 conversions, 44 penalties, 178 points

1 Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby) 26 caps, 1 try, 5 points
2 Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons) 37 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
3 Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors) 55 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
4 Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) 1 cap
5 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) 54 caps, 1 try, 5 points
6 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby) 13 caps
7 Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) vice-captain 34 caps, 1 try, 5 points
8 Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier) 23 caps, 3 tries, 15 points

Substitutes

16 Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped
17 Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors) 20 caps
18 Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors) 1 cap
19 Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) 2 caps
20 Robert Harley (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps 1 try, 5 points
21 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) 8 caps, 1 try, 5 points
22 Duncan Taylor (Saracens) 2 caps
23 Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby) 11 caps, 6 tries, 30 points

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales). Assistant Referees:  Lourens van der Merwe and Cobus Wessels (both South Africa). TMO:  To be appointed by South African RU.