Mallett names Italy team to face Scotland

Italy coach Nick Mallett named an unchanged side on Thursday for the Six Nations international against Scotland at the Stadio Flaminio on Saturday.

Former national team captain Marco Bortolami of Gloucester retained his place despite Carlos Del Fava’s unexpected return from injury and Mallet has chosen to continue with Andrea Masi on the wing instead of New Zealand born Kaine Robertson.

Having lost their opening two games in the tournament, both Italy and Scotland are smarting after coming so close to victories in their last outings.

Scotland lost to a last minute try against Wales in Cardiff while Italy were beaten only by an unconverted try against England here in Rome and that due to a missed tackle.

Italy were criticised for not creating very much against England but Stade Francais winger Mirco Bergamasco insists their’s was a much improved performance on their showing against Ireland in Dublin.

“I think we created much more than we have done in the past, we’re in the process of creating a style of play and we felt much better than we did against Ireland,” he said.

“We had much more of the ball, we managed the game better and did well in the middle of the pitch.

“Unfortunately we conceded a try and we know that at this level every little error can hurt you but we’re trying to solve the little problems we had against England which can help us in the next match.”


However, Bergamasco admitted that the Italians do need to step things up in their attacking play, although he warned fans not to expect a sudden shift to an expansive running game.

“We’ll stick to the same kind of gameplan that we’ve had proposed to us in the last few games while trying to do a little more,” he said.

“Obviously if we’re talking about France and Wales, these are teams who play a lot with the ball in their hands and they know how to do so but the important thing for us is to concentrate on our game and not on that of our opponents.”


Veteran lock Bortolami believes, though, that Italy do need to run the ball a little more as against England they never once threatened to score a try.

“I think that from an attacking point of view we need to create more chances while maintaining the balance in our play that we showed against England,” he said.

“We’re still probably a bit too conservative and we need to take a step forward in this respect.

“That means playing it more in the hands when Scotland’s defence gives us that opportunity and exploiting the four or five chances we get to turn them into a try.

“If our scrum and our tactical game work as they should in our own half we should be able to alleviate the pressure on us in our own half and put Scotland under pressure in theirs.

“However it’s difficult to win a match if you don’t score a try.” Bortolami reckons Scotland’s more risky defensive game should help the hosts.

“The Scotland defence is different (to England’s), it’s a blitz defence that gets right up in your face and if they do that well they’ll put us under a lot of pressure but it’s the type of defence where if a player makes a mistake you can exploit that.

“Physically the English players are very strong, they’re very good in one on one and that’s why we didn’t create much so we have to be better when one on one with the ball in hand to then create chances.”


(15-1) Luke McLean; Andrea Masi, Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Mirco Bergamasco; Craig Gower, Tito Tebaldi; Alessandro Zanni, Mauro Bergamasco, Josh Sole; Marco Bortolami, Quintin Geldenhuys; Martin Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini (capt), Salvatore Perugini

Replacements: Fabio Ongaro, Matias Aguero, Carlos Del Fava, Paul Derbyshire, Pablo Canavosio, Riccardo Bocchino, Kaine Robertson

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