Six Nations

Ford starts for Scotland in Italy finale

 Ross Ford  (Gallo)
Ross Ford (Gallo)

London - Ross Ford is to start at hooker in place of Fraser Brown for Scotland's final game of the 2017 Six Nations against Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Ford has been recalled after Brown was sent to the sin-bin early in Scotland's thumping 61-21 defeat by England at Twickenham last week following a dangerous 'tip tackle' on Elliot Daly.

The inclusion of Ford is the only change coach Vern Cotter has made to the starting XV for the New Zealander's final game in charge of Scotland.

Although well beaten by England in a match where a win gave their oldest rivals the Six Nations title, victory over the Azzurri could still see Scotland finish second for the first time since the tournament was expanded to six countries in 2000.

Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour and Ryan Wilson have all declared themselves fit following head knocks against England.

The only other change to the match-day squad sees Gloucester centre Matt Scott return to the bench to replace Mark Bennett, who only managed just two minutes as a first-half replacement against England before suffering leg and arm injuries.

"The players were frustrated by last weekend but we must take all the learnings from the past years and produce a strong, complete performance to put us in the best possible position to finish in the top half of the table," Cotter said.

"We want to repay the support of another sell-out crowd.

"Matches between Scotland and Italy have always been tough affairs. We have a lot of respect for them and feel they have been improving throughout the competition.

"They showed in this campaign they can be innovative, so preparation has been key to ensuring we put in a good performance. We have to be ready for anything."

Teams:

Scotland

15 Stuart Hogg; 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tim Visser; 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price; 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (captain); 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray; 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Gordon Reid

Substitutes: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Matt Scott

Italy

15 Edoardo Padovani; 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Luke McLean, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti; 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Edoardo Gori; 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Maxime Mbanda; 5 George Biagi, 4 Marco Fuser; 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Ornel Gega, 1 Andrea Lovotti.

Substitutes: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Sami Panico, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Dries Van Schalkwyk, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Francesco Minto, 22 Marcello Violi, 23 Luca Sperandio.

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