Stuart Hogg is confident Scotland can get their faltering Six Nations campaign back on track in today’s potential wooden-spoon decider in Italy.
The Lions star admitted that the Scots’ dismal 20-0 Calcutta Cup loss was a woeful performance but says this weekend’s match will be better suited to the team, and is relishing the opportunity of playing on a better surface.
“The small break we have had has been good for us in training, allowing us to work on things and getting all the boys in a good place. It has been a difficult few weeks with the back-to-back losses and having to endure the fallout from the England defeat but we know what went wrong and hopefully against Italy we can put it right.
“We are confident going into the game but we know they are formidable opponents, especially at home. They are fantastic ball carriers but with what we have been working on in training we can hopefully slow them down.
“The pitch against England wasn’t great, it made it difficult for both teams, slowing the ball and tempo down, allowing England to play their game. Saturday should be dry and on a good pitch which means we can hopefully play the style and tempo we wanted to play against England.
Scotland have struggled in recent years at the Stadio Olimpico, losing on their last three visits, but Hogg insists the team are determined to earn the victory and avoid what would likely be the wooden spoon. “We have struggled over there [in Rome] in recent years but as a group we are in good spirits and feel like we can play the game we want to play,” he said.
“We have learned a lot from the Ireland and England losses. We kicked too much against England and didn’t manage to make the most of our possession, but we know that the mistakes we made will not be repeated this weekend.
“As a group we have reacted positively to the losses. We know it’s a massive game and hopefully we can spoil the Italian party.”