Scotland vs Italy: What time is the Six Nations game at Murrayfield, what TV channel can I watch it on and what is our prediction?

Telegraph Sport
The Telegraph
Vern Cotter will oversee his final Scotland game on Saturday - Copyright (c) 2017 Rex Features. No use without permission.
Vern Cotter will oversee his final Scotland game on Saturday - Copyright (c) 2017 Rex Features. No use without permission.

When and where is the game?

The match will be played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at Murrayfield.

What time is kick-off?

12.30pm (GMT)

What TV channel is it on?

The match is on BBC One with the programme starting at 12.10pm.

What is the team news?

Fraser Brown's rush of blood to the head against England has cost the Scotland hooker his starting slot against Italy.

Head coach Vern Cotter  who is taking charge of Scotland for the final time – has recalled Ross Ford to start at Murrayfield after Brown wrecked his plans for the Auld Enemy with his Twickenham sin-binning.

<span>Vern Cotter will coach Scotland for the final time against Italy</span> <span>Credit: REX FEATURES </span>
Vern Cotter will coach Scotland for the final time against Italy Credit: REX FEATURES

The Glasgow front-rower was shown a yellow card just 90 seconds into the clash with Eddie Jones's team after dumping wing Elliot Daly to the turf with a dangerous tip tackle.

Brown was spared further punishment on Tuesday when an independent disciplinary panel ruled his challenge did not merit a red card.

But Cotter has now decided to hand Ford his first start of the championship and his 107th international cap.

The Edinburgh forward will need just two more caps after this weekend to equal Chris Paterson's Test record for a Scottish player.

Ford's inclusion is the only change to the starting XV ripped apart by the English last weekend as they went on to claim a record-equalling 61-21 triumph.

<span>Ross Ford will start his first game of the Championship at Murrayfield on Saturday</span> <span>Credit: REX FEATURES </span>
Ross Ford will start his first game of the Championship at Murrayfield on Saturday Credit: REX FEATURES

Although their title hopes were snuffed out by that humiliating defeat, Scotland can still finish as runners up for the first time since the tournament was expanded to six teams in 2000.

Cotter will be relieved to see the likes of Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour and Ryan Wilson declare themselves fit after suffering head knocks last weekend. Finn Russell, Huw Jones and Richie Gray have also shaken off knocks to take on the struggling Italians, who have lost all four of their games to date.

The only other change to the match-day squad sees Gloucester centre Matt Scott return to the bench to replace Mark Bennett, who lasted just two minutes as a first-half replacement against England before suffering leg and arm injuries.

Cotter said: "The players were frustrated by last weekend but we must take all the learnings from the past years and produce a strong, complete performance to put us in the best possible position to finish in the top half of the table.

"We want to repay the support of another sell-out crowd.

"Matches between Scotland and Italy have always been tough affairs. We have a lot of respect for them and feel they have been improving throughout the competition.

"They showed in this campaign they can be innovative, so preparation has been key to ensuring we put in a good performance. We have to be ready for anything."

Scotland XV: Hogg (Glasgow); Seymour (Glasgow), Jones (Stormers), Dunbar (Glasgow), Visser (Harlequins); Russell (Glasgow), Price (Glasgow); Reid (Glasgow), Ford (Edinburgh), Fagerson (Glasgow), R Gray (Toulouse), J Gray (Glasgow), Barclay (Scarlets, capt), Watson (Edinburgh), Wilson (Glasgow).
Replacements: Brown (Glasgow), Dell (Edinburgh), Berghan (Edinburgh), Swinson (Glasgow), Du Preez (Edinburgh), Pyrgos (Glasgow), Weir (Edinburgh), Scott (Gloucester).

Scottish-born lock George Biagi has been named in the Italy side as one of four changes to Conor O'Shea's starting line-up.

<span>George Biagi, who was born in Irvine, Scotland, will start for Italy</span> <span>Credit: REX FEATURES </span>
George Biagi, who was born in Irvine, Scotland, will start for Italy Credit: REX FEATURES

The 31-year-old 6ft 6in Zebre player, who came off the bench in defeats to Ireland, England and France, has been selected in the second row to face Scotland in place of club team-mate Dries van Schalkwyk.

Zebre's Maxime Mbanda is also named in the starting pack, in place of Glasgow flanker Simone Favaro, while Ornel Gega takes over from Leonardo Ghiraldini at hooker after recovering from a neck problem.

Tommaso Benvenuti replaces the injured Michele Campagnaro in the centres, and back-rower Federico Ruzza will be hoping for a first senior cap from the bench.

Italy XV: E Padovani (Zebre); A Esposito (Treviso), T Benvenuti (Treviso), L McLean (Treviso), G Venditti (Zebre); C Canna (Zebre), E Gori (Treviso); A Lovotti (Zebre), O Gega (Treviso), L Cittadini (Bayonne), M Fuser (Treviso), G Biagi (Zebre), M Mbanda (Zebre), A Steyn (Treviso), S Parisse (Stade Français).
Replacements: L Ghiraldini (Toulouse), S Panico (Calvisano), D Chistolini (Zebre), D van Schalkwyk (Zebre), F Ruzza (Zebre), F Minto (Treviso), M Violi (Zebre), L Sperandio (Treviso).

Three key stats

1. Scotland have won six of their last seven games against Italy (L1), although their one defeat in that run came at Murrayfield (2015).

2. Italy have beaten Scotland eight times overall, more often than they have beaten any other Tier One nation.

3. Scotland have won their last three home games in the Six Nations, the last time they went on a longer such run was a streak of six games between 1989 and 1991.

What are they saying?

"We started the Championship well but things didn't work against England. Now we just need to go back to what was working for us in the earlier games.

"There is always pressure on us to win. We played some of our best rugby in those first three games. But we don't want to go into our shell and not play like the way we know we can.

"We want to go out and express ourselves and pick off these mismatches that we can find."
Scotland centre Alex Dunbar

What are the betting odds?

Scotland to win: 1/18 
Italy to win: 8/1 
Draw: 50/1

What is our prediction?

Following last weekend's humiliation at the hands of the Auld Enemy, Scotland will be hoping – and expected – to chalk up a cricket score against the bottom-placed nation who will pick up the Six Nations wooden spoon for the 12th time in 18 outings in the competition.

Predicted score: Scotland 43 Italy 11


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