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Why Italy desperately need a win against Scotland this weekend

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Thursday Jul 27, 2023

Scotland take on Italy in what promises to be a thrilling match on Saturday, in front of a packed-out Murrayfield stadium. This will be the 36th meeting between the two sides as they both prepare for an upcoming World Cup tournament that will see them arrive both as underdogs.

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Over the years, the Scotland vs. Italy fixture, once dubbed the Six Nations ‘wooden spoon’ match, has produced numerous thrilling moments. In the past, predicting the winner was a tough task, with players like Martin Castrogiovanni and the Bergamasco brothers causing havoc among the Scottish ranks. Recently, however, it’s been the dark blue of Scotland that has proved dominant over the light blue of Italy – having gone unbeaten against their rivals since 2015.

Scotland’s unbeaten run of 12 straight victories over the Italians has coincided with Italy’s worst run in their history which has seen them go six years without a victory in the Six Nations. It was not until that famous moment in 2022 when Ange Capuozzo broke the Welsh ranks in Cardiff to set up the winning try, that Italy truly appeared to step out of their international slumber.

This victory signaled a new era for Italian rugby, one filled with young talent that was due to bring Italian rugby back to its highest heights not seen since the mid-2000s. There have been glimpses of this new horizon since, in particular an incredible 28-27 victory over Australia providing a glimpse of the future that Italian fans were hoping for.

The promises of their growing success have been left stifled, however, following another wooden spoon collection at this years Six Nations. There is, no doubt, plenty of promise surrounding this young Italian side, despite the expectations leading up to this years World Cup somewhat diminishing since the promising breakthrough that Ange Capuozzo led.

Breaking Scotland’s 12-match winning streak against Italy this weekend could inject an element of unpredictability heading into the World Cup, giving Italy that vital spark neccessary to break expectations, as they face off against both the All Blacks and France in a World Cup pool that has not been kind to them.

Scotland approach this weekends game with a squad full of new faces and combinations, using this crucial time to assess their potential ahead of the tournament. This untested side could provide Italy with a perfect opportunity to break the mold with an unexpected victory.

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Italy have elected for a more high profile side, with the impressive wing combination of Monte Ioane and Pierre Bruno likely to cause plenty of concern for the Scotland defence. Italy are missing talismanic fullback Ange Capuozzo through injury, however he is likely to make a return ahead of the World Cup.

Experienced international Tommaso Allan takes his place at fly half, as he looks to marshal his troops and take advantage of an untried Scotland defence.

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