Six Nations – Preview – Scotland Chasing Maximum Points Against Italy To Stay In The Race


Scotland knows only maximum points will do to keep the pressure on Ireland at the top of the Guinness Men’s Six Nations table when they visit Rome on Saturday.

Gregor Townsend’s side needs to take care of business and beat Italy, ideally with a bonus point, and then hope Ireland does not do the same against England a couple of hours later.

Scotland will be playing for their first Triple Crown since 1990 on Super Saturday, regardless of tomorrow’s outcome, but will hope the title is a mathematical possibility too. For that, they will need Ireland to fall short of all five points at Twickenham.

Happily for Scotland, they have a strong record against Italy and a win in Rome tomorrow would be their ninth in a row against the Azzurri.

Despite missing a golden chance to beat France in Round 3, Italy will be buoyed by their performance in the 13-13 draw as they continue to make progress under Gonzalo Quesada.

As a mark of the positivity in Italy, the match is a sell-out and there will be vocal support for the hosts in their last home match of the Championship.

Italy have picked a new back three with Ange Capuozzo, Monty Ioane and Louis Lynagh making his debut with the national team.

Tommaso Menoncello will join Juan Ignacio Brex in the centres while Paolo Garbisi and Martin Page-Relo will form the half-back pairing once again.

Scotland have made three changes from the team that beat England in Round 3, with Andy Christie, Cameron Redpath and George Horne all drafted into the starting XV.

For Christie, named at blindside flanker, a first start in Scotland colours will see him join co-captain Rory Darge (openside) and No. 8 Jack Dempsey in the back row.

Redpath is named at inside centre alongside Huw Jones after Sione Tuipulotu was ruled out of the remaining matches through injury.

Scrum-half Horne gets the nod to partner stand-off and co-captain Finn Russell as Scotland seeks to retain the Cuttitta Cup, which will be played for the third time since its 2022 inauguration.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: "They've been improving for some time, it's a team that's been very competitive against any team in the Six Nations. We know this is going to be one of our biggest tests this season.

"Happyish. In terms of performance, we're a little bit away from what we know what we can deliver. There's still a lot more to come from us.

"[There's] a lot to play for this weekend and the following weekend in Dublin."


Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Martin Page-Relo, 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 3 Simone Ferrari, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 5 Federico Ruzza, 6 Sebastian Negri, 7 Michele Lamaro (c), 8 Ross Vintcent. Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Giosuè Zilocchi, 19 Andrea Zambonin, 20 Lorenzo Cannone, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 Leonardo Marin, 23 Federico Mori.

Scotland: 15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Kyle Steyn, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Cameron Redpath, 11. Duhan van der Merwe, 10. Finn Russell, 9. George Horne; 1. Pierre Schoeman, 2. George Turner, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Grant Gilchrist, 5. Scott Cummings, 6. Andy Christie, 7. Rory Darge, 8. Jack Dempsey. Replacements: 16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Alec Hepburn, 18. Elliot Millar-Mills, 19. Sam Skinner, 20. Jamie Ritchie, 21. Matt Fagerson, 22. Ali Price, 23. Kyle Rowe.