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Rugby-Scotland hand Harley first start against Italy

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Feb 5 (Reuters) - Glasgow flanker Robert Harley will make his first Scotland start in Saturday's Six Nations clash against Italy at Edinburgh's Murrayfield, Scottish Rugby said on Tuesday.

Harley comes into the side in place of Alasdair Strokosch who suffered an eye-socket injury in last Saturday's opening 38-18 defeat by England.

Harley scored the match-winning try on his debut against Samoa in June when he was introduced off the bench.

"I had the pleasure of working with Robert on our tour last summer," said Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson.

"He's big and aggressive and he's been knocking on the door for selection for a wee while. He deserves this chance as a reward for his club form."

Hooker Ross Ford also comes into the team at the expense of Dougie Hall, who will have a fitness test later in the week to establish if he can take up a place on the bench.

Scotland will face an Italy side buoyed by their surprise 23-18 win over France on Sunday.

"Italy's victory against France in Rome was well-deserved and certainly didn't surprise us," said Johnson, whose side lost to Italy last year to finish bottom.

"It will be a true test match this weekend and it would be great to have a big vocal Murrayfield crowd supporting the boys this weekend." (Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Mark Meadows)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130205/rugby-scotland-hand-harley-first-start-against-italy