Weir to make first Scotland start since 2016 in Autumn clash with Italy

Duncan Weir will return to the Scotland starting line-up after injuries ruled our regulars Finn Russell and Adam Hastings. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Duncan Weir will make his first start for Scotland at fly-half since 2016 as one of four changes to the side to take on Italy in their Autumn Nations Cup clash in Florence on Saturday.

Weir makes a return to the No. 10 jersey after injuries ruled our regulars Finn Russell and Adam Hastings, and will earn a 29th cap having also played on the wing and most recently at centre against France in March.

Ali Price will start alongside him at scrum-half and Sam Johnson at inside centre, with Chris Harris moving to the No. 13 jersey as coach Gregor Townsend made three changes to backline that helped Scotland defeat Wales 14-10 in Cardiff in their final Six Nations match on Oct. 31.

There is also one change in the pack with hooker Stuart McInally starting, and packing down alongside props Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland.

"While we gained confidence from the win over Wales, we have been working hard to improve in all areas of our game, and we believe that there is a lot more to come from this group of players," Townsend said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The energy has been great at training and we are seeing real competition for places throughout our squad."

Townsend also warned his players not to underestimate an Italian side that have lost their six tests since a first round exit at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

"Italy recorded a famous win against South Africa in this stadium, and we are well aware of the quality they have in their squad that they can raise their game to a similar level this weekend," he added.

Italy's Matteo Minozzi has recovered from a broken nose suffered against England a fortnight ago to be included in the team to play Scotland.

Minozzi, who helped Wasps reach the English Premiership final, had to leave the pitch in Rome at the end of the Six Nations after a clash of heads with Jonny May but has recovered to make the team named by coach Franco Smith on Thursday.

Italy handed a debut to wing Jacopo Trulla and a second cap to centre Marco Zanon in the only two changes to the starting lineup from the 34-5 defeat that saw England win the Six Nations.

Italy also named uncapped Stephen Varney from English club Gloucester among the replacements. The Welsh-born scrum half has an Italian mother and has come through Italy's junior international teams.

Scotland squad:

Starting XV:

Stuart Hogg (captain), Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Duhan van der Merwe, Duncan Weir, Ali Price, Blade Thomson, Hamish Watson, Jamie Ritchie, Jonny Gray, Scott Cummings, Zander Fagerson, Stuart McInally, Rory Sutherland.


George Turner, Oli Kebble, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Nick Haining, Sam Hildago-Clyne Steele, James Lang, Blair Kinghorn.

Italy squad:

Starting XV:

Matteo Minozzi, Jacopo Trulla, Marco Zanon, Carlo Canna, Mattia Bellini, Paolo Garbisi, Marcello Violi, Jake Polledri, Braam Steyn, Sebastian Negri, Niccolo Cannone, Marco Lazzaroni, Giosue Zilocchi, Luca Bigi (captain), Danilo Fischetti


Leonardo Ghiraldini, Simone Ferrari, Pietro Ceccarelli, Johan Meyer, Maxime Mbanda, Stephen Varney, Tomasso Allan, Federico Mori.