Friday 23 February 2018

Scots call on Cross to face Azzurri in wooden spoon showdown

Scotland have made one change to their starting line-up for Saturday's Six Nations wooden spoon decider with Italy.

Geoff Cross was named to start at tight-head prop with Kelly Brown retained at No 8 despite suffering concussion against England.

Scotland enter the final match of the tournament seeking a first win after defeats to France, Wales, Ireland and last Sunday's 22-16 defeat to England.

Cross impressed off the bench at Twickenham and has been included for his fifth cap -- but his first start for two years -- completing an all-Edinburgh front-row alongside Allan Jacobsen and hooker Ross Ford, who has retained his place despite a misfiring line-out performance against England.

Moray Low has dropped out of the match-day 22 altogether, with Lions prop Euan Murray named on the bench.

Meanwhile, Italy coach Nick Mallett has made six changes despite the stunning win over France last weekend.

Alberto Sgarbi comes in at centre for Gonzalo Garcia, Kristopher Burton returns at out-half in place of Luciano Orquera, while flanker Paul Derbyshire makes his first start of the tournament with Robert Barbieri dropping to the bench.

Quintin Geldenhuys is back in the second-row with hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini and prop Salvatore Perugini, who will earn his 80th cap, also returning.

Italy will avoid the wooden spoon if they beat or draw with Scotland.

SCOTLAND -- C Paterson; M Evans, J Ansbro, S Lamont, S Danielli; R Jackson, R Lawson; A Jacobsen, R Ford, G Cross; R Gray, A Kellock (capt); N Hines, J Barclay, K Brown. Reps: S Lawson, E Murray, R Vernon, A Strokosch, M Blair, D Parks, N De Luca.

Italy -- A Masi; T Benvenuti, G Canale, A Sgarbi, M Bergamasco; K Burton, F Semenzato; S Perugini, L Ghiraldini, M Castrogiovanni, C Del Fava; Q Geldenhuys, A Zanni, P Derbyshire, S Parisse (capt). Reps: C Festuccia, A Lo Cicero, V Bernabo, R Barbieri, P Canavosio, L Orquera, L McLean.

REF -- S Walsh (Aus).

Irish Independent

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