London - Fit-again wing Tim Visser has been recalled by Scotland as they seek
to end a run of nine straight Six Nations Championship defeats when they
face Italy in Rome on Saturday.
Dutch-born Visser, in for Sean
Lamont, is the only change to the Scotland starting side announced by
coach Vern Cotter on Thursday from the team that kicked off in a 27-23
defeat by Wales in Cardiff last time out.
Visser - who has
scored 10 tries in 23 Tests - was included in the original squad, but a
hamstring injury ruled him out of the opening rounds, including a 15-9
loss to England. However, he has since proved his fitness with London
club side Harlequins.
Scotland coach Vern Cotter's other changes
to his matchday 23 were on the bench where props Moray Low and Rory
Sutherland, back-row Ryan Wilson and centre Peter Horne have all been
Both Scotland, on their worst Championship losing streak
since the 1950s, and Italy have yet to win in this season's Six
Nations, with Saturday's match shaping as another battle between the
teams to avoid the wooden spoon.
For Scotland, minutes away from
beating eventual runners-up Australia in a World Cup quarter-final at
Twickenham in October, these results have been especially disappointing
after hopes were high they could make progress following their 2015 Six
However, Cotter tried to deflect the growing
pressure on his side by saying: "After a week off from the championship,
we have returned to camp fresh and fit, and have prepared well for what
will be another formidable opponent."
Italy pushed France close
first time out in a 23-21 defeat in Paris before running out of steam
during a 40-9 reverse against England in the second round and Cotter was
wary of the Azzurri's increasingly all-round game.
shown they are a talented team, particularly in their performance away
against France, but also against England," he said.
surprised both teams with their physicality, intensity and quality, all
of which we will have to be ready for, and at least equal to, if we are
to win in Rome this weekend," the New Zealander added.
worked hard to improve our game and will stay true to the core values of
this team, which is to work hard but stay calm; have belief in our
systems, ourselves, and enjoy the opportunity."
15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 David Denton, 7 John Hardie, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson
Substitutes: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Moray Low, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Sean Lamont