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Scotland coach Scott Johnson

Scotland coach Scott Johnson

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Scotland's Richie Gray has been recalled to the starting line-up for Saturday's Six Nations game against Italy

Scotland's Richie Gray has been recalled to the starting line-up for Saturday's Six Nations game against Italy

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Scotland coach Scott Johnson

Scotland lock Richie Gray has been recalled to the starting line-up for Saturday's potential Six Nations wooden spoon decider against Italy.

Gray was only used as a second-half substitute in the Championship opener against Ireland before head coach Scott Johnson dropped him completely for the humiliating 20-0 defeat to England.

But the Castres forward has been brought back for the Rome clash with the Azzurri – who like Scotland have lost both their first two games.

Johnson has made two other changes, with out-of-form hooker Ross Ford dropped in favour of Scott Lawson, while David Denton loses his place to Johnnie Beattie.

"I think I speak for all the players in the fact we're looking forward to going out and putting in a performance," Gray said.

"I was not involved against England but I think the guys were pretty down and they did not manage to show what they can do. So I think this weekend it's really about showing what we can do."

Scotland's backs were starved of quality ball against England and a need to redress that issue is reflected in Johnson's decision to hand the same seven men another chance against the Italians, while there is still no place for former skipper Kelly Brown. Scrum-half Greig Laidlaw will lead out the team in his absence.

Johnson admitted his side's pride had been wounded by the dismal defeats to Ireland and England.

"We're all hurting at the results of the first two games but the players we've chosen have the chance to do something that can make our supporters proud this weekend."

SCOTLAND (v Italy) – S Hogg; T Seymour, A Dunbar, M Scott, S Lamont; D Weir, G Laidlaw (capt); R Grant, S Lawson, M Low; R Gray, J Hamilton; R Wilson, C Fusaro, J Beattie. Reps: R Ford, A Dickinson, G Cross, T Swinson, D Denton, C Cusiter, D Taylor, M Evans.

PA Media