Scotland coach Vern Cotter admits his side are under pressure after six straight defeats – but claims talking about it ahead of Saturday’s match in Italy will only make matters worse.
Scotland narrowly lost to Ireland in Dublin last weekend, but only four players retain their place from the game at the Aviva Stadium.
Forward pair John Hardie and Stuart McInally will both win their first caps, as will wing Rory Hughes.
Experienced Al Strokosch plays the blindside, with Adam Ashe completing the loose forwards wearing 8.
Asked if he was dreading culling his current extended training squad down to the final 31, Cotter said: “Absolutely, it will be a very tough job to do”. But from the outset that was the deal, so I will just sit down and be totally honest with them. “We’ve got another two weeks to make an evaluation, but the doc is pretty positive that he’ll be alright”.
New Zealander Hardie, who qualifies for Scotland through his Fife-born grandmother, quit his homeland in a bid to fulfil his World Cup ambitions.
Cotter said: “This is another chance to give opportunities to players and allow us to have a good look at our squad, be it those who haven’t played or are playing in different positions”. He has gone about his work without making a fuss and he has learnt all he needs to learn.
Gilchrist has been named skipper for the warm-up game in Turin and will be joined in the second row by Richie Gray, while Gordon Reid, Mike Cusack, Alasdair Strokosch and Adam Ashe are also included from the start.
Replacements: R Ford, A Dickinson, WP Nel (all Edinburgh), J Hamilton (Saracens), H Watson (Edinburgh), H Pyrgos (Glasgow), P Horne (Glasgow), D Hoyland (Edinburgh).