Scotland haven’t become a bad team overnight but are wary of wounded Italy, says No 8 Magnus Bradbury

Back-to-back defeats by Wales and France extinguished any hopes Scotland may have had of challenging for the Six Nations title but Magnus Bradbury believes the squad’s confidence remains intact, despite the criticism that followed.

The bruising nature of last weekend’s 36-17 loss at the hands of the French was particularly tough to take as Fabien Galthie’s side ran away with the match in the second half.

It was the first time Scotland had conceded six tries under Gregor Townsend and they must now try to repair the damage in time for this Saturday’s game in Rome against Italy.

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Asked if the France defeat had shaken the confidence of the squad, Bradbury said: “It’s hard to put that into words to be honest. It’s not necessarily checked the confidence because we know we haven’t become a bad team overnight. That result hasn’t changed that.

“We know ourselves that if we get things right we can put teams away but on the flipside if we get it wrong we can struggle at times, as any nation would.

“Things obviously didn’t go right in that game for 80 minutes and that’s why the result looked the way it did in the end.

“We know the repercussions of losing to France. But, for me, it’s one game at a time. We’ll do everything we can to win the [Italy] game.

“It will be the same the week after against Ireland. We need to do all we can to finish the championship on a high.”

Scotland No 8 Magnus Bradbury has backed the squad to bounce back from the heavy defeat to France. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Italy’s long, long wait for a win in the Six Nations - seven years and counting - has left rivals especially wary of being the side responsible for ending the streak. Historically, Scotland have been the team against whom the Azzurri have enjoyed most success. Seven of their 12 Six Nations wins have been at the expense of the Scots and there will certainly be no complacency in the visitors’ ranks at the Stadio Olimpico next weekend.

“We’ve always got respect for Italy,” said Bradbury. “I think you’d be stupid not to respect them. Especially at home, they are a really passionate bunch of guys and they front-up really well. They’ve got a physical team who can punish you if you don’t get it right.

“Even when you play the Italian club teams like Benetton and Zebre, you need to start strongly and have a good first 20 minutes to ride that wave of passion and emotion that they come with.

Italy are seeking their first win in the Six Nations since 2015. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“I’ve played in Rome previously in 2020. It’s an incredibly loud place to play. The fans are screaming and singing the whole time. But as soon as you step on the pitch, you try and shut it off.”

Bradbury has also tried to shut out the criticism that followed the losses to Wales and France but the No 8 admitted it can be hard amid the pervasive influence of social media.

“We don’t discuss it, to be honest,” he said. “For us, all that matters is what’s going on within these four walls when we’re in camp.

“You do pick up on stuff on Twitter and Instagram in terms of what people are saying. But, personally, I try not to read it. And I’m sure the majority of the guys would share the same outlook on that.”

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