Match Preview


Scotland know only maximum points will do to keep the pressure on Ireland at the top of the Guinness Men’s Six Nations table when they visit Rome on Saturday.

Gregor Townsend’s side need to care of business and beat Italy, ideally with a bonus point, and then hope Ireland do not do the same against England a couple of hours later.

Scotland will be playing for their first Triple Crown since 1990 on Super Saturday, regardless of tomorrow’s outcome, but will hope the title is a mathematical possibility too. For that, they will need Ireland to fall short of all five points at Twickenham.

Happily for Scotland, they have a strong record against Italy and a win in Rome tomorrow would be their ninth in a row against the Azzurri.

Despite missing a golden chance to beat France in Round 3, Italy will be buoyed by their performance in the 13-13 draw as they continue to make progress under Gonzalo Quesada.

As a mark of the positivity in Italy, the match is a sell-out and there will be a vocal support for the hosts in their last home match of the Championship.


Viewers in the UK will be able to watch on ITV 1 and ITV X, with the team live from 1.30pm. In the Republic of Ireland, Virgin One will be live from the same time.


Italy have picked a new back three with Ange Capuozzo, Monty Ioane and Louis Lynagh making his debut with the national team.

Tommaso Menoncello will join Juan Ignacio Brex in the centres while Paolo Garbisi and Martin Page-Relo will form the half-back pairing once again.

Scotland have made three changes from the team that beat England in Round 3, with Andy Christie, Cameron Redpath and George Horne all drafted into the starting XV.

For Christie, named at blindside flanker, a first start in Scotland colours will see him join co-captain Rory Darge (openside) and No. 8 Jack Dempsey in the back row.

Redpath is named at inside centre alongside Huw Jones, after Sione Tuipulotu was ruled out of the remaining matches through injury.

Scrum-half Horne gets the nod to partner stand-off and co-captain Finn Russell as Scotland seek to retain the Cuttitta Cup, which will be played for the third time since its 2022 inauguration.

KEY BATTLE – Michele Lamaro v Rory Darge

It is the battle of the captains at openside flanker, as Michele Lamaro and Rory Darge go up against each other.

After missing the opening game against Wales because of a knee injury, Darge has made a major impact since returning for the defeat to France and win against England – nobody made more tackles than his 15 in the latter.

He has more defensive breakdown arrivals than any other Scot in the Championship – despite playing one fewer match – and speed will be key against an Italy backline that will want to play fast and loose.

Lamaro is as equally sturdy in defence. He has made a Championship high 55 tackles, nine more than any other player, while six of them were dominant.

A key ball-carrier, he will be relied on in the loose and has the third most carries for the Azzurri so far.


Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend: "They've been improving for some time.

"It's a team that's been very competitive against any team in the Six Nations. We know this is going to be one of our biggest tests this season.

"Happyish. In terms of performance, we're a little bit away from what we know what we can deliver. There's still a lot more to come from us.

"[There's] a lot to play for this weekend and the following weekend in Dublin."

  • Scotland have won each of their last eight Guinness Men’s Six Nations matches against Italy, their longest winning run against any nation in the Championship since winning their first 11 matches against Ireland between 1883 and 1892.

  • Italy drew their most recent Guinness Men’s Six Nations match (13-13 v France), the first time they’ve avoided defeat in the competition since defeating Wales on the final day of the 2022 Championship; however, the Azzurri haven’t avoided defeat in consecutive games since 2012-13 (W2).

  • Scotland have won seven of their last 10 Guinness Men’s Six Nations away matches (L3), as many wins as they’d picked up across their previous 51 away games in the Championship combined (D1 L43).

  • Five of Italy’s 13 victories in the Guinness Men’s Six Nations have come in home games against Scotland, making it their most successful fixture, however their most recent such victory was back in 2012 , Giovanbattista Venditti scoring the only try of the game back then.


Louis Lynagh may be on debut, but at just 10.2 stars and with a nose for the try-line, he could be worth a flyer.

Likewise, Gianmarco Lucchesi, who is averaging 17.3 points per game, is an intriguing supersub option on current former.

Duhan van der Merwe is a must-pick on the wing, while Huw Jones (averaging 24.3 fantasy points per match) is also an underrated pick.

At prop, Pierre Schoeman is the highest scoring (18.3) with Danilo Fischetti (15.7) close behind.


Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Martin Page-Relo, 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 3 Simone Ferrari, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 5 Federico Ruzza, 6 Sebastian Negri, 7 Michele Lamaro (c), 8 Ross Vintcent

Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Giosuè Zilocchi, 19 Andrea Zambonin, 20 Lorenzo Cannone, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 Leonardo Marin, 23 Federico Mori

Scotland: 15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Kyle Steyn, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Cameron Redpath, 11. Duhan van der Merwe, 10. Finn Russell, 9. George Horne; 1. Pierre Schoeman, 2. George Turner, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Grant Gilchrist, 5. Scott Cummings, 6. Andy Christie, 7. Rory Darge, 8. Jack Dempsey

Replacements: 16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Alec Hepburn, 18. Elliot Millar-Mills, 19. Sam Skinner, 20. Jamie Ritchie, 21. Matt Fagerson, 22. Ali Price, 23. Kyle Rowe