Italy unchanged for Scots clash
February 25, 2010
Quintin Geldenhuys again locks the Italian scrum © Getty Images
Italy coach Nick Mallett has elected not to alter his side as they go in search of a rare Six Nations victory over Scotland in Rome on Saturday.
Mallett's men have not tasted a Championship win since 2008, when the Scots fell victim to a late Andrea Marcato drop-goal, and have lost both of their opening games this season.
They will have taken positives from running England close last time out, leading Mallett to select the same bruising pack as they take aim at a Scottish scrum that has faltered in recent weeks.
Salvatore Perugini, Leonardo Ghiraldini and Martin Castrogiovanni start in the front-row while there is a boost on the bench as Carlo Antonio Del Fava returns from injury. He will provide back-up to Quintin Geldenhuys and Marco Bortolami.
Alessandro Zanni put in an inspirational shift at No.8 against England and is joined in the back-row by Mauro Bergamasco and Josh Sole. Mirco Bergamasco looks set to retain the kicking duties, with further options in Craig Gower at fly-half and Luke McLean at fullback.
Scrum-half Tito Tebaldi admitted that Italy will do whatever it takes to pick up the victory, hoping to stifle Scotland and ensure the game is played on their terms.
"We need to be efficient," he said. "We must try to stop them from playing their style of game. Perhaps this may mean a less entertaining game for the fans, but so be it. Against England we had the possibility to show more of our play than with respect to our opening defeat at Ireland. We hope we can continue to improve in our performances and take another step with respect to our game against England.
"We are not thinking about the wooden spoon. We will have to wait until the end of the tournament to see what happens. We just have to focus on giving a good performance to win this game. In order to beat Scotland, we will have to show the same heart as we did against England and have a bit more luck."
Italy: L McLean (Benetton Treviso); A Masi (Racing Metro Paris), G Canale (Clermont-Auvergne), G Garcia (Benetton Treviso), M Bergamasco (Stade Francais); C Gower (Bayonne), T Tebaldi (Gran Parma); S Perugini (Bayonne), L Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester), Q Geldenhuys (Viadana), M Bortolami (Gloucester), J Sole (Viadana), M Bergamasco (Stade Francais), A Zanni (Benetton Treviso)
Replacements: F Ongaro (Saracens), M Aguero (Saracens), C Del Fava (Viadana), P Derbyshire (Petrarca Padova), P Canavosio (MPS Viadana), R Bocchino (Rovigo), K Robertson (Viadana)