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RugbyU: Scotland forced into three changes for Italy


Scotland made three enforced changes Thursday for a third-place play-off against Italy on June 22 in a South African four-nation tournament.

Fly-half Tom Heathcote returns after a shoulder injury ruled out Ruaridh Jackson, lock Alastair Kellock replaces unavailable Jim Hamilton, and David Denton comes in for injured flank Ryan Wilson.

Hamilton, who was harshly sin binned in a 30-17 defeat by South Africa in Nelspruit last Saturday, returned home soon after for the birth of his second child.

Loose forward Rob Harley, the latest addition to the squad after a series of tour-ending injuries with captain Kelly Brown among the victims, was named among the eight replacements.

There is also a comeback to the match 23 as a substitute for left-wing Tim Visser, who played in the 27-17 first round loss to Samoa in Durban, and was then axed by interim coach Scott Johnson.

"This is the end of a long season for both northern hemisphere teams and we want no rocks under our beach towels after the Italy match," Australia-born Johnson told reporters.

"I was encouraged by our performance against South Africa last week, but having set that standard we have to ensure we build upwards from it against Italy."

Scotland have won 13 and lost seven of previous match-ups with the Azzurri (Blues), including a 34-10 Six Nations championship triumph in Edinburgh last February.

The play-off (1215GMT) at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria is the first half of a Test double-header with South Africa facing Samoa in the final (1515GMT).

Team (15-1)

Peter Murchie; Tommy Seymour, Alex Dunbar, Matt Scott, Sean Lamont; Tom Heathcote, Greig Laidlaw (capt); Johnnie Beattie, Alasdair Strokosch, David Denton; Alastair Kellock, Tim Swinson; Euan Murray, Scott Lawson, Alasdair Dickinson

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Moray Low, Jon Welsh, Grant Gilchrist, Robert Harley, Henry Pyrgos, Duncan Taylor, Tim Visser

Coach: Scott Johnson (AUS)