Peter Wright, the former British & Irish Lions forward, has voiced astonishment at Dave Denton's omission from the Scotland starting XV for the match against Italy.

Wright backed the decisions to restore Richie Gray to the second row and to bring in Scott Lawson at hooker but said: "I'm actually gobsmacked that Denton has been dropped, not so much for Johnnie Beattie because I think Beattie should be in the team.

"But I thought they might have moved Denton to No.6, because I think he gives you a lot more than Ryan Wilson, who is a very inexperienced player in Test matches.

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"Is Scott Johnson still experimenting, or does he see this as his best team available to beat Italy? I think he could make it stronger."