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Harris replaces Jones as Scotland make three changes for Italy clash

Gregor Townsend has brought in centre Chris Harris in place of Huw Jones as one of three changes to his team for Scotland’s Six Nations match in Italy.

Scotland travel to Rome on Saturday with both teams looking for their first win of this year’s competition.

Gloucester’s Harris partners Sam Johnson at centre for his first start of the campaign, with Jones dropping out of the matchday 23.

In Scotland’s other alterations, Edinburgh forwards Stuart McInally and Ben Toolis come into the team in place of Fraser Brown, who drops to the bench, and the injured Jonny Gray. 

“We believe Chris and Stuart deserve this opportunity,” said Townsend. 

“They were very close to the starting XV when we entered this campaign. We think this is the right time for them to come in.

“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, and Ben gets an opportunity to start following Jonny’s injury against England.

“Second-row is a position we have a lot of competition [in], with a number of very good players available for selection. 

“We are looking forward to seeing how he combines again with Scott [Cummings] after a successful outing together against Russia in the World Cup.”

Flanker Matt Fagerson, who was added to the Scotland squad earlier this week, is a new name among the replacements, as are WP Nel, Grant Gilchrist and Byron McGuigan.

There is still no place for fly-half Finn Russell, due to his dispute with Scotland’s management in the wake of a breach of team protocol ahead of the tournament.

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain), Sean Maitland, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn, Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, Stuart McInally, Zander Fagerson, Ben Toolis, Scott Cummings, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, WP Nel, Grant Gilchrist, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Byron McGuigan.    

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