Last week’s opening weekend loss to England means that Scotland have lost 13 championship matches in a row since they drew with the Italians 6-6 three years ago, while it is 15 matches since they secured their last win over France that same year at Lasswade.
Like their male counterparts, the Italian women got off to a flying start last week with a 13-12 victory over France coming thanks to a late Veronica Schiavon penalty. However, back-row Brown has confidence in her charges to do the job tomorrow.
The 31-year-old said: “There is no doubt that the England match [when they went down 76-0] was disappointing. For the first 20 minutes we competed well, played the game in the right area of the pitch and defended well, but then they just overwhelmed us and we fell off a lot of tackles.
“This week, I asked everyone to really analyse their own performance and where we let things slip and I think everyone is in a good frame of mind heading in to the Italy match. We know it will be a tough contest and they will be buzzing after beating France, but this is one we really want to win.”
The starting XV shows two changes from the one that took to the field in Surrey. Centre Sarah Dixon returns after missing out late last week through injury and teenage back-row Jade Konkel gets her first start.
Konkel replaces her Hillhead/Jordanhill team-mate Mary Lafaiki in the No 6 jersey after impressing many off the bench last week. Hooker Nikki McLeod, from Morgan, joins the replacements for the encounter in the City of Discovery.
Team: Steph Johnston (RHC Cougars); Annabel Sergeant (Richmond), Sarah Dixon (RHC Cougars), Lisa Ritchie (Carlisle), Megan Gaffney (Hillhead/Jordanhill); Tanya Griffith, Louise Dalgliesh (both RHC Cougars); Heather Lockhart (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers), Tracey Balmer (Worcester), Lindsay Wheeler (Richmond), Bridget Millar-Mills (Worcester), Jade Konkel (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Susie Brown, Tess Forsberg (both Richmond). Subs: Beth Dickens, Suzanne McKerlie-Hex (both Murrayfield Wanderers), Nikki McLeod (Morgan), Becca Parker, Mary Lafaiki (both Hillhead/Jordanhill) Sarah Law, Leanne Neary (both Murrayfield Wanderers), Lauren Harris (Melrose).