Six Nations 2015: Peter Horne starts at fly-half for Scotland

By Phil GoodladBBC Scotland at Murrayfield
Peter Horne in action for Glasgow Warriors
Peter Horne has been in good form for Glasgow Warriors
Six Nations 2015: Scotland v Italy
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 28 February Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC One HD, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app from 14:00 GMT; listen on BBC Radio Scotland; text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Peter Horne has been named at fly-half in place of the banned Finn Russell as one of four changes for Scotland to face Italy in the Six Nations.

Fit-again Tommy Seymour replaces Tim Visser on the wing in the other change among the backs.

Euan Murray comes in for Geoff Cross in the front row, while Tim Swinson replaces the injured lock Richie Gray.

Edinburgh forwards Ben Toolis and Hamish Watson could win their first caps from the bench.

Scotland coach Vern Cotter had been forced into the change at fly-half after Russell's appeal against a two-week suspension was rejected on Wednesday.

The New Zealander has turned to Russell's 25-year-old club-mate, Horne, who already has six Scotland caps, as he named 10 starters from Pro12 leaders Glasgow Warriors.

Scotland wing Tommy Seymour
Tommy Seymour starts against Italy after recovering from injury

Horne was chosen ahead of Greig Tonks, but Cotter feels the Edinburgh player has plenty to offer as a substitute.

"Peter gets the nods through his experience and through his recent games at first five with Glasgow," said the head coach.

"We think he controlled those games well and that gave him the nod just ahead of Greig.

"He's very excited about the opportunity to play at 10. He has played with those players who will be outside him.

"We know what Greig can give us coming off the bench and that is flexibility at 10 and 15. It's nice to have somebody who can do those roles."

Seymour was absent for the defeat by Wales through injury, while Glasgow team-mate Murray returns after missing out because his religious beliefs ruled out the Sunday game.

Both sides go into Saturday's game seeking a first Six Nations win this season.

And Cotter said: "It's a game that I think we have prepared well for and it will come down to getting things right on the day.

"We're very wary of Italy and feel that they are better than they were last year. We respect them.

"They are a team that will be targeting this game, so we must be prepared to roll our sleeves up and work very hard to get a result.

"They are a big, physical team - bigger than us - so we will have to be technically strong and well connected as a group to withstand what will be a strong assault on our defensive line."

Lock Toolis, 22, and flanker Watson, 23, take their places on the replacements' bench in place of Alasdair Strokosch and the injured Jim Hamilton.

Ryan Grant comes on to the bench following injuries to props Gordon Reid and Jon Welsh against Wales.

Scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne retains his place on the bench despite having shown signs of delayed concussion during that defeat.

"We have youth and experience in this group of players and, when we look at our performances, we've improved from one week to the next, so that's positive," added Cotter.

Scotland team

Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), Bennett (Glasgow Warriors), Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Laidlaw (Gloucester, capt); Dickinson (Edinburgh), Ford (Edinburgh), Murray (Glasgow Warriors), Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), J Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Cowan (Edinburgh), Beattie (Castres).

Replacements: Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Cross (Edinburgh), Toolis (Edinburgh), Watson (Edinburgh), Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh), Tonks (Edinburgh), Scott (Edinburgh).

Top Stories