Blair Kinghorn will get another chance to impress at stand-off after being given the nod to start in the Scotland number 10 jersey in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations match at home to Italy, following injury to Finn Russell.
The versatile Edinburgh back played in the role on six consecutive occasions last year and appeared to have become Gregor Townsend’s favoured fly-half option before Russell returned to the scene midway through the autumn Tests and reclaimed the position with a string of stunning displays.
With Russell and Stuart Hogg both ruled out by injuries picked up against Ireland last weekend, it was widely assumed that 26-year-old Kinghorn – who has been used as a replacement full-back in recent matches – would instead take over in the number 15 jersey, with Munster’s Ben Healy perhaps in line to play at stand-off.
However, Townsend has chosen to give Kinghorn another chance at 10, with Glasgow’s Ollie Smith – who made his debut on last year’s summer tour of South America – filling in for Hogg at full-back.
The third enforced change to the starting XV sees Edinburgh lock Sam Skinner take the place of Richie Gray, who suffered a blow to the ribs against Ireland last Sunday.
In the only unenforced alteration to the starting line-up, Edinburgh flanker Hamish Watson comes in for Matt Fagerson, who drops to the bench.
Uncapped Munster fly-half Healy is named among the replacements, while Cam Redpath is on the bench for the first time in the tournament.