Beattie expecting no let-up against Italy
February 8, 2013
Beattie returned to Scotland colours for the first time in 18 months against England © Getty Images
Scotland No.8 Johnnie Beattie expects no respite when they welcome a fired-up Italy to Murrayfield on Saturday.
The Scots started their campaign with a 38-18 loss to England and must now face an Italy side that is buoyed by the confidence of a 23-18 victory at home to France. In recent years the sides have battled over the wooden spoon and in their most recent meeting last year the Scots slumped to a Six Nations white-wash in Rome after a limp performance helped Italy win 13-6.
With Italy having won four times in the six encounters, Beattie is in no doubt who the underdogs are.
"Absolutely us, we have seen the level of performance that Italy have put together over the past few years," he said. "They are not the team that maybe they were three, four, five years ago. They are a very, very different animal.
"We have come off the back of a disappointing performance against England, they have just beaten France, in my eyes the pre-tournament favourites. We are definitely the pre-match underdogs for this game."
Beattie's start at Twickenham was his first in 18 months and reward for a string of impressive performances that have helped Montpellier into the Heineken Cup quarter-finals. It was a rude awaking for the back-rower though and while there were some impressive moments, such as Sean Maitland's and Stuart Hogg's tries, he and the rest of the Scotland team believe that they have no choice but to vastly improve their performance.
"We did analysis of the way we played against England and in many, many respects we were nowhere near where we wanted to be," Beattie said. "It was very easy to see where we went wrong, and that was a positive thing, but the only people that can change that are the players. We have everything in our hands and everything is on us, and we are just looking forward to going out there and trying to play better."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
They came to Murrayfield looking to put down a marker, but Scotland were sent home with their tails between their legs, writes Tristan Barclay
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales