SCOTLAND need to grow up as a team if they are to bounce back from losing their first two Six Nations Championship matches and beat Italy this afternoon, assistant coach Duncan Hodge believes.
A record crowd for the fixture is expected at BT Murrayfield, and Hodge thinks they will witness a home win provided his team learn to take their chances – something they failed to do a fortnight ago in the 26-23 loss to Wales.
“We still have a young team,” he said. “Did Wales have as many chances as us? Probably not. Were they more clinical with what they had? Probably yes.
“That’s where we need to grow up a bit. We need to translate that pressure into tangible points.”
Winger Tommy Seymour, who played in the 15-8 loss in Paris but was injured for the Wales game, is back in the side this afternoon and thinks new stand-off Peter Horne will be the key man for Scotland.
“I’m a massive fan of Peter’s – he’s a very intelligent footballer,” Seymour said of his Glasgow Warriors team-mate. “All of the boys at Glasgow and Scotland enjoy playing with him as he’s an attack-minded player.
“He also defends well, but he wants to play rugby the way people want to see it played.
“We need to take the pressure off him and give him options and if we play the brand of rugby which is set out for us then I’m confident Peter has the skill set to implement a win for us.”
Italy will be looking for their first win in the RBS Six Nations Championship for two years, and a second-ever victory at Murrayfield. The Italians’ only previous win in Edinburgh was in 2007, with a 37-17 victory.
The attendance record for the Scotland-Italy game is the crowd of 60,708 who watched in 2001, according to Scottish Rugby. Around 62,000 are expected for today’s 2.30pm kick-off.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS