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Hogg hoping Scotland's season can begin in Rome

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Full-back Stuart Hogg

Full-back Stuart Hogg

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Full-back Stuart Hogg

Scotland head coach Scott Johnson has acknowledged that not even a victory over Italy today will cure his side's surfeit of problems.

The Scots have suffered two painful defeats, to Ireland and England, as their miserable Six Nations campaign got off to the worst possible start.

The 20-0 humiliation in Edinburgh a fortnight ago has been described as the nation's worst ever display, with Scotland spending just 3pc of the game in the English '22' as they failed to register a point against the red rose for the first time since 1978.

Their meeting with the Azzurri at the Stadio Olimpico looks like a wooden spoon decider, and under-fire Johnson concedes that not even a morale-boosting triumph in the Eternal City will guarantee that his side have turned the corner.

"There is no doubt, we would take a win," he admitted. "It would be good for the guys, but it would not be the end of all our ills. What we want is consistency in this team.

TEMPORARY

"We could win ugly and everyone would feel good. But that is only a temporary measure. We seem to settle for these little peaks and then the troughs. Yes, a win would be great for morale, but we have to do it more often."

Full-back Stuart Hogg agreed with the coach that redemption is a long way off, but he hopes the journey starts in Rome.

"I think it will put us in a good place if we win here," he said. "It could kick-start our Six Nations campaign."

Scotland's task may be made more difficult given that Italy captain Sergio Parisse and prop Martin Castrogiovanni will both win their 104th caps, eclipsing the previous record held by Andrea Lo Cicero. (© Independent News Service)

Italy – L McLean; A Esposito, M Campagnaro, G Garcia, L Sarto; T Allan, E Gori; A De Marchi, L Ghiraldini, M Castrogiovanni, Q Geldenhuys, J Furno, A Zanni, R Barbieri, S Parisse (capt). Reps: D Giazzon, M Aguero, L Cittadini, M Bortolami, P Derbyshire, T Botes, L Orquera, T Iannone.

Scotland – S Hogg;T Seymour, A Dunbar, M Scott, S Lamont;D Weir, G Laidlaw (capt); R Grant, S Lawson, M Low, R Gray, J Hamilton, R Wilson, C Fusaro, J Beattie (Montpellier). Reps: R Ford, A Dickinson, G Cross, T Swinson, D Denton, C Cusiter, D Taylor, M Evans.

Ref – S Walsh (Australia).

ITALY V SCOTLAND, LIVE, RTE2/BBC1, 1.30

Irish Independent