Six Nations 2019: Scotland hooker Stuart McInally backs uncapped trio

Stuart McInally will win his 23rd cap against Italy when the Six Nations kicks off on Saturday
McInally will win his 23rd cap against Italy when the Six Nations kicks off on Saturday
Six Nations: Scotland v Italy
Venue: Murrayfield Date: Saturday, 2 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC television & online; listen on Radio Scotland; follow live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Hooker Stuart McInally has faith in his inexperienced understudies as Scotland prepare to open their Six Nations campaign at home to Italy on Saturday.

With Fraser Brown making his way back after a knee problem and George Turner injured, uncapped trio Dave Cherry, Jake Kerr and Grant Stewart are cover.

But Edinburgh captain McInally says all three are "quality players".

"All these guys could step in, no problem. All three are desperate to learn in training," McInally said.

"I work with David at Edinburgh and he's an excellent player - very good at set-pieces.

"Jake, from what I've seen over these last two weeks, is very capable of playing at this level, a good operator, very skilful. He's quite physical as well. He works really hard.

"Grant has been around the Scotland set-up before and he's played well for Glasgow."

'If we don't get this game right we don't stand a chance'

Assistant coach Matt Taylor revealed earlier this week "there is a possibility" that Brown, who has been sidelined since early December, "could be right" to make an early comeback from the bench against Italy or Ireland.

"Do you bring Fraser back if he's ready or do you give an opportunity to a young guy who is performing pretty well?" Taylor said on Monday.

"The decision is round what's best for the team and what you need. Fraser's an 
excellent hooker and really experienced and there's a possibility he could be right, so if you think he's right then yeah, you could pick him.

"If we think he needs a little more time, to get a few more miles under the belt or some rehab, we'd sit him down until the next game."

Gregor Townsend has a long injury list to contend with, with key men missing from the back row as well as the front row, where prop Zander Fagerson is also close to a return.

But the head coach has spoken of "much better depth" and full-back Stuart Hogg says the squad are on the "right path to achieving something incredibly special".

McInally, 28, shares that positive outlook but is warning that Scotland cannot afford to look beyond Italy at Murrayfield.

"It's exciting that we get to start the championship at home," he said. "But we're not taking it lightly - we know we'll need to be at our best.

"There's no chance of minds wandering to the Ireland game. It's all on this game because if we don't get this right we don't stand a chance for the rest of the tournament."

Graphic of Scotland's Six Nations fixtures

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