Laidlaw wants Scotland to find something extra against Italy


Greig Laidlaw has called on Scotland to find that little bit extra against Italy on Saturday as they seek to end a dismal nine-game losing streak in the Six Nations.

Vern Cotter's men visit the Stadio Olimpico having suffered narrow defeats against England and Wales to start this year's competition.

Those losses have left Scotland in the familiar position of battling with Italy - also beaten in each of their first two games - to avoid bottom spot.

And Laidlaw said: "It's hugely important for Scottish rugby that we win. We'll take any win. Any team can play well and not win, but that's not good enough, we need to win games.

"It'll be tight but if we stay the course we can win.

"I've never said we've been unlucky to lose nine games in a row. We've had bad luck along the way and everybody needs a bit of good luck to go their way.

"We're not playing against bad teams. To go to Wales is an extremely tough place. We're not getting clobbered by a lot of points, we're right in these games.

"We're sick of saying it, I'm sick of saying it. We simply need to find that little bit extra. We just want to get that win under our belt."

Scotland have been boosted by wing Tim Visser's return from a hamstring injury but centre Sean Maitland (thigh) and flanker Blair Cowan (concussion) are both out.

For Italy, Kelly Haimona comes in for the injured Carlo Canna at fly-half, while full-back David Odiete is back from an ankle problem and replaces Luke McLean.

Joshua Furno is in for George Biagi at lock after he broke a rib in the 40-9 defeat to England and hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini returns for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury at the World Cup.

Despite the emphatic nature of their defeat to England, Italy skipper Sergio Parisse is upbeat over their chances.

"I think they [Scotland] are a really strong team - but I think we are a really strong team too. I'm confident in our strengths," Parisse said.

"In the past we lost against them here in Rome with a last-minute drop-goal but last year we went to Murrayfield and got a try late in the match to win too. 

"If we play the right game we have the possibility to have a good result at the end."


Key Opta stats:

- Italy have won seven of their previous 16 encounters with Scotland in the Six Nations with five of those victories coming in Rome.
- In only two of those seven victories for the Azzurri have they been leading at half time (L2, D3).
- Scotland have lost their last nine matches in this competition, they haven't lost 10 in a row in the competition since a run of 15 defeats between 1951 and 1955. Six of these recent nine defeats have come by a margin of a converted try or less, however.
- Scotland have the lowest lineout (78%) and scrum success rates (83%) in the tournament after two rounds.
- Of the 12 players to appear in 7+ Six Nations matches and lose all of them, six could feature in this match; Leonardo Sarto, Tim Swinson, Michele Campagnaro, Jonny Gray, Mark Bennett and Blair Cowan.