Hampson remains 'critical' after surgery

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Matt Hampson's condition was last night described as critical, but stable, following a four-hour operation on his neck at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on Wednesday night.

The Leicester prop Hampson, 20, suffered a serious neck injury during an England Under-21 training session at Northampton's Franklin's Gardens earlier this week. Initially, he was admitted to Northampton General Hospital, but after assessment and evaluation of the extent and gravity of the injury to his neck, he was transferred to the National Spinal Injuries centre.

The Scotland coach, Matt Williams, has made four changes to the team for tomorrow's Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham. With the first choice scrum-half Chris Cusiter ruled out because of an Achilles tendon injury picked up against Wales, Mike Blair comes off the bench for his first start since the 2003 World Cup match against the United States. The Glasgow scrum-half Graeme Beveridge takes over bench duty.

The Sale flanker Jason White returns from injury so Williams has revamped the back row, Simon Taylor moving to No 8 and Allister Hogg switching to the open side. Further changes see the lock Stuart Grimes making way for Nathan Hines and Leeds' Gordon Ross taking over at fly-half from Daniel Parks.

Simon Picone wins his third cap for Italy after being named at inside centre for tomorrow's match against France in Rome. Andrea Masi moves to outside centre, while Matteo Barbini is axed from the squad.

Kaine Robertson, who missed the England game because of injury, returns to the wing. Up front Agen's experienced lock Santiago Dellape is preferred to Carlo Antonio Del Fava.

The Australia and New South Wales lock Justin Harrison has withdrawn from this weekend's round of Super 12 matches after admitting he racially abused the Cats winger Chumani Booi in a match in South Africa. Harrison said: "I've asked to be stood down until a hearing takes place."


SCOTLAND (v England, Twickenham, tomorrow, 6.0pm): C Paterson (Edinburgh); R Lamont (Glasgow), A Craig (Glasgow), H Southwell (Edinburgh), S Lamont (Glasgow); G Ross (Leeds Tykes), M Blair (Edinburgh Rugby); T Smith (Northampton Saints), G Bulloch (Glasgow, capt), G Kerr (Leeds Tykes), N Hines (Edinburgh), S Murray (Edinburgh), J White (Sale Sharks), S Taylor (Edinburgh), A Hogg (Edinburgh Rugby).

Replacements: R Russell (London Irish), B Douglas (The Borders), S Grimes (Newcastle Falcons), J Petrie (Glasgow), G Beveridge (Glasgow), D Parks (Glasgow), A Henderson (Glasgow). On standby: J Dunbar (Leeds Tykes), B MacDougall (Edinburgh).

ITALY (v France, Rome, tomorrow, 1.0pm): G Peens (L'Aquila); A Masi (Viadana), S Picone (Treviso), L Nitoglia (Calvisano), K Robertson (Viadana); L Orquera (Padova), A Troncon (Treviso); A Lo Cicero (L'Aquila), F Ongaro (Treviso), S Perugini (Calvisano), M Bortolami (Narbonne), S Dellape (Agen), D Dal Maso (Treviso), A Persico (Agen), S Parisse (Treviso).

Replacements: R Pedrazzi (Viadana), L Castrogiovanni (Calvisano), C A Del Fava (Parma), S Orlando (Treviso), P Griffen (Calvisano), C Festuccia (Gran Parma), R De Marigny (Parma).