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Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Expect Scots to make a fast start under Townsend

Azzurri may struggle without talisman Parisse

Finn Russell is tackled by Sergio Parisse in the Six Nations
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Summer Tour
BBC2 Scotland, 1pm Saturday

Scotland play their first international under Gregor Townsend and it's worth betting that the new coach's emphasis on fast, attacking play has an instant effect.

They take on Italy in Singapore without strike runners Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg plus skipper Greig Laidlaw, and in all there are nine changes from the team that beat Italy 29-0 in the Six Nations.

But the Azzurri arguably face the harder task as they try to turn the page following a Six Nations campaign in which they leaked more than 200 points for the second year running, and they have to do it without talisman Sergio Parisse.

The powerful number eight has consistently led from the front and the team have looked rudderless without him.

Scotland, in contrast, are guided by exciting fly-half Finn Russell, who starred in the Six Nations and can feel aggrieved at missing out for the Lions.

There's still plenty of pace out wide for the Scots and Townsend will no doubt encourage Russell to open up the game from the off and ask questions of a hesitant Azzurri side.

The handicap ranges from 12 to 14 points and the best bet looks to be that the Scots lead by at least a converted try come half-time.

Scotland -6 on first-half handicap
3pts 10-11 Hills

Scotland are guided by exciting fly-half Finn Russell, who starred in the Six Nations
E.W. Terms
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