Scotland recall Visser for Italian Six Nations job

Tim Visser has been recalled to the Scotland starting line up

Scotland have recalled winger Tim Visser to their team as they look to end a nine match losing streak of Six Nations defeats when they take on Italy in Rome.

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has brought Dutch-born Visser into the Scotland starting line up as replacement for Sean Lamont and is the only change to the side that lost 27-23 to Wales.

Visser – who has scored 10 tries in 23 Tests – was included in the original squad, but a hamstring injury ruled him out of the opening rounds, including a 15-9 loss to England. However, he has since proved his fitness with London club side Harlequins.

Scotland coach Vern Cotter’s other changes to his matchday 23 were on the bench where props Moray Low and Rory Sutherland, back-row Ryan Wilson and centre Peter Horne have all been included.

Both Scotland, on their worst Championship losing streak since the 1950s, and Italy have yet to win in this season’s Six Nations, with Saturday’s match shaping as another battle between the teams to avoid the wooden spoon.

For Scotland, minutes away from beating eventual runners-up Australia in a World Cup quarter-final at Twickenham in October, these results have been especially disappointing after hopes were high they could make progress following their 2015 Six Nations whitewash.

However, Cotter tried to deflect the growing pressure on his side by saying: “After a week off from the championship, we have returned to camp fresh and fit, and have prepared well for what will be another formidable opponent.”

Italy pushed France close first time out in a 23-21 defeat in Paris before running out of steam during a 40-9 reverse against England in the second round and Cotter was wary of the Azzurri’s increasingly all-round game.

“Italy have shown they are a talented team, particularly in their performance away against France, but also against England,” he said.

“They surprised both teams with their physicality, intensity and quality, all of which we will have to be ready for, and at least equal to, if we are to win in Rome this weekend,” the New Zealander added.

“We have worked hard to improve our game and will stay true to the core values of this team, which is to work hard but stay calm; have belief in our systems, ourselves, and enjoy the opportunity.”

Scotland

Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Duncan Taylor, Tim Visser; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt); David Denton, John Hardie, John Barclay; Jonny Gray, Richie Gray; Willem Nel, Ross Ford, Alasdair Dickinson

Replacements: Stuart McInally, Rory Sutherland, Moray Low, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Peter Horne, Sean Lamont

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