Six Nations: Scotland drop Huw Jones for Chris Harris against Italy

Huw Jones
Glasgow Warriors back Jones featured in the defeats by Ireland and England but will not feature against Italy
Six Nations Championship: Italy v Scotland
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Date: Saturday, 22 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Watch on BBC One; listen BBC Radio 5live & BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app

Scotland centre Huw Jones has been replaced by Chris Harris in one of three changes to the side for Saturday's Six Nations match in Italy.

Ben Toolis replaces the injured Jonny Gray at lock, while hooker Stuart McInally comes in for Fraser Brown.

Back row Matt Fagerson, who was added to the squad this week having initially been ruled out by injury, is on the bench in place of Nick Haining.

Fly-half Finn Russell is still missing after a breach of team protocol.

Gregor Townsend's men are searching for their first win - and their first try - of the championship after defeats against Ireland and England.

Their opponents Italy have conceded 10 tries in their opening two defeats.

The last time Italy won in the competition was against Scotland at Murrayfield in 2015.

Fagerson is joined among the replacements by Edinburgh tighthead William Nel, who replaces Simon Berghan, while second-row Grant Gilchrist and wing Byron McGuigan take the places of the promoted Harris and Toolis.

Townsend believes it is the "right time" for Harris and McInally to come into the starting team.

"We believe Chris and Stuart deserve this opportunity," he said. "They were very close to the starting XV when we entered this campaign.

"Chris has been excellent for Gloucester this season and has continued to make improvements since the summer. He works very hard on both sides of the ball, which will be important this week. Stuart has shown over the past few weeks he's back to full fitness and is raring to go.

"Second-row is a position we have a lot of competition in. We're looking forward to seeing how Ben combines again with Scott [Cummings] after a successful outing against Russia in the World Cup."

Townsend believes his team still have plenty to play for in this Six Nations despite losing their opening two games and not being in the shake-up for the title.

"There's three games and we want to build on what we've done, especially in the first game," he said.

"The second game was unique in terms of the conditions and how both teams were able to play that day.

"We want to show improvement. We want to get wins. We've still got three games left to do that and we'll see where we are at the end of the championship."

Meanwhile, Alessandro Zanni returns to Italy's starting line-up for his 119th cap on Saturday.

The 36-year-old withdrew injured shortly before defeat to France and is the hosts' only change from that match, with Dean Budd dropping to the bench.

Zanni's appearance will take him level with former prop Martin Castrogiovanni in second on Italy's all-time cap list.

Like Scotland, Italy have lost their first two matches.

Scotland: Hogg (capt); Maitland, Harris, Johnson, Kinghorn; Hastings, Price; Sutherland, McInally, Fagerson, Cummings, Toolis, Ritchie, Watson, Bradbury.

Replacements: Brown, Dell, Nel, Gilchrist, Fagerson, Horne, Hutchinson, McGuigan.

Italy: Hayward, Bellini, Morisi, Canna, Minozzi, Allan, Braley, Steyn, Negri, Polledri, Cannone, Zanni, Zilocchi, Bigi, Lovotti.

Replacements: Zani, Fischetti, Riccioni, Lazzaroni, Budd, Licata, Palazzani, Bisegni.


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