Allan Massie: Scotland have a secure defence, Italy don’t

It didn’t feel like a 20-point defeat. There was, I think, general agreement about this. Nevertheless the score that will stand in the records is Ireland 28, Scotland 8, and, unless we beat Italy in Rome today, we’ll have gone another season without winning an away game in the Six Nations. Of course, neither have France nor Wales, though France have a chance to do so in Cardiff this evening. Home dominance has been a feature of the tournament, no away wins being recorded in the last three rounds. This may change today.

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Scotland train in the sunshine during the captain's run at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.''Picture: Ian Rutherford

Scots can leave one-time wooden spoon rivals in their wake

You’ll have heard the joke about the two sailors who found themselves marooned on a desert island until one of them stumbles across a lamp and the genie therein offers them one wish each.

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Scotland Club XV beat their Irish counterparts at Netherdale to retain the Dalriada Cup. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

Scotland Club XV 35 - 26 Ireland Club XV: Dalriada Cup glory

Scotland retained the Dalriada
Cup with victory in the Club International last night at Netherdale, but were made to fight all the way by a defiant and gutsy Irish side.

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Scotland's John Barclay in action during captain's run at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.''Picture: Ian Rutherford

John Barclay warns Scotland to be wary of Italian backlash

John Barclay has warned Scotland to beware of an Italian backlash as Conor O’Shea’s side look to avoid a NatWest Six Nations whitewash.

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Italy's Sergio Parisse will equal Brian O'Driscoll's Six Nations appearances record. Picture: Alastair Grant/AP

Two remarkable milestones for Italy captain Sergio Parisse

Year after year, despite loss after loss, he keeps coming back.

Scotland stand-off Finn Russell at Oriam ahead of the game against Italy in Rome. Picture Paul Devlin/SNS

Finn Russell hails Nick Grigg despite losing special advisor Peter Horne

Former England and Scotland coach Andy Robinson, talking about a young Jonny Wilkinson, pointed out that the wunderkind was only fully effective during the 2003 World Cup because he was getting sound advice in both ears, Matt Dawson inside him and Will Greenwood outside.

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Scotland prop Willem Nel at Oriam ahead of the Six Nations match against Italy. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

WP Nel says injury woes have made him mentally stronger

A broken arm is not exactly fun but, as Scotland tighthead WP Nel showed off the scar on the back of his left forearm at the squad’s Oriam training base yesterday, he broke into a broad grin.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

Gergor Townsend tailors Scotland team for Italy Six Nations finale

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend may have changed a third of his team for the final NatWest Six Nations match against Italy in Rome on Saturday but was keen to emphasise it wasn’t an axe-wielding exercise.

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Gregor Townsend reveals thinking behind five changes for Italy trip

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend insists the move to change a third of the team for the final NatWest Six Nations game is mainly tactical, with the starting line-up and bench he feels is best suited to the test of facing Italy in Rome on Saturday.

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Six Nations: Five changes to Scotland starting line-up to face Italy

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made five changes to his starting line-up for the final Six Nations match against Italy on Saturday.

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Blair Kinghorn scored Scotland's second try on his first start but the 20-point loss bumps Gregor Townsend's men down a place in the World Rugby rankings. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Scotland drop down a place in World Rugby rankings after Ireland loss

Scotland have dropped to sixth in the World Rugby rankings after their 28-8 loss to Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

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Richie Vernon is back in the Scotland squad for the first time since the 2015 World Cup. Picture: SNS Group

Six Nations: Glasgow Warriors quartet called into squad for Italy trip

Four Glasgow Warriors players have been added to the Scotland squad for this weekend’s final Six Nations match with Italy in Rome.

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Scotland’s Megan Kennedy surprised by her own comeback

Megan Kennedy’s rugby career was almost over before it had barely begun. Now she is not only back playing but, to her own surprise, has swiftly cemented a place in the Scotland team, and wins her fourth cap today against Ireland.

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DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 10: Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend during the Ireland v Scotland Six Nations rugby championship game at Aviva Stadium on March 10, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Gregor Townsend says Scotland will close gap on Ireland

cotland coach Gregor Townsend believes Scotland are on a similar “journey” to the one NatWest Six Nations champions Ireland have travelled over the past few years, writes Duncan Smith.

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Gregor Townsend focuses on positives despite Scotland’s defeat

A 20-point victory definitely qualifies as a handsome one but even a four-tries-to-one success can attract that well-worn talk of it all being about “fine margins” in top-level sport.

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‘Whopping errors’ let Scotland down says Hamish Watson

Wing Sean Maitland admitted Scotland’s backs had let down the team by not rewarding a huge forwards effort in Dublin with the tries which could have changed the complexion of the game.

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Gregor Townsend takes the positives out of Ireland defeat

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said yesterday’s 28-8 defeat to Ireland in Dublin was “night and day” compared to the 34-7 ravaging suffered in Wales on the opening weekend of the NatWest Six Nations.

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Alex McLeish has confirmed his backroom staff. Picture: SNS Group

Alex McLeish brings James McFadden and Peter Grant into Scotland set-up

James McFadden and Peter Grant have been appointed as members of Alex McLeish’s new-look Scotland coaching set-up.

Scotland Women held on for victory after Chloe Rollie's brilliant solo try. Picture: SNS/SRU

Ireland Women 12 - 15 Scotland Women 15: Chloe Rollie sets up rare win

A spectacular length-of-the-pitch try by Chloe Rollie gave Scotland their first win in this year’s Six Nations yesterday and their first on the road in the Championship since 2006.

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‘No disrespect’ by Warren Gatland says Italy’s Tommaso Allan

When Wales announced their team to play Italy this afternoon it had ten changes from the side that lost narrowly to Ireland in Dublin. Ten! Admittedly the introduction of Taulupe Faletau, Liam Williams and George North can’t undermine the Welsh squad too badly but, if Warren Gatland’s side were playing France this weekend there is no chance he would go into battle without Aaron Shingler, Alun Wyn Jones and Samson Lee.

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