In-form Exeter scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne has been named as the only new addition to Townsend’s original Scotland squad selected at the beginning of October.
Winger Sean Maitland returns to the squad having not been available to be selected for the Guinness Six Nations finale against Wales last weekend, which sees stand-in Ratu Tagive released back to Glasgow along with Rob Harley and Richie Gray.
Hidalgo-Clyne joins Exeter Chiefs teammates Stuart Hogg, Jonny Gray and Sam Skinner in the Scotland camp having helped his club win the European Rugby Champions Cup and the English Premiership double in the past few weeks. He’s down a Doddie Weir Cup in terms of personal trophy haul but this call up is no less reward for how he’s played since pitching up in the South West of England after a bit of time in the wilderness.
Standoffs Finn Russell and Adam Hastings both sustained injuries in historic win against Wales in Llanelli on Saturday and as a result will miss the Autumn Nations / Jeff Bezos Cup on account of groin and shoulder injuries respectively.
Hastings will require surgery and could be out for up to four months, while Russell’s groin injury can be managed through rest and rehab and he will return to the care of his club, Racing 92, with recovery time expected at around two months.
This leaves Duncan Weir as the sole dedicated 10 in Townsend’s squad and the likely front runner to play against Italy. Centre James Lang has covered and played there all season for Harlequins, and Hidalgo-Clyne himself has played ten in the past – including with Scott Steele as his half-back partner during their Merchiston days.