Tim Visser returns for Scotland trip to play Italy

Very Cotter’s side are looking to avoid a 10th Six Nations defeat on the spin

Scotland captain Greg Laidlaw and coach Vern Cotter are looking to avoid a 10th consecutive Six Nations defeat in a row. Photograph: Inpho

Scotland captain Greg Laidlaw and coach Vern Cotter are looking to avoid a 10th consecutive Six Nations defeat in a row. Photograph: Inpho

 

Fit-again wing Tim Visser has been handed a Scotland recall as the Dark Blues bid to avoid losing 10 straight Six Nations matches when they face Italy in Rome on Saturday.

The Harlequins back’s inclusion is the only change to Vern Cotter’s starting line-up, with Sean Lamont dropping to the bench.

Visser missed the opening fortnight of the campaign after suffering a hamstring injury on duty with his club but Cotter will hope the 23-cap wing — who has 10 international tries to his name — can add some vital fire-power ahead of what already looks like a wooden-spoon decider in the Eternal City.

The Dutch-born flyer goes straight into the starting XV for the Stadio Olimpico duel after proving his fitness during two 80-minute run outs for Quins against Leicester and Gloucester.

Cotter’s only other alterations to the squad that lost 27-23 to Wales in Cardiff two weeks ago are on the bench.

Exeter prop Moray Low will look to add to his 29 caps with a first appearance for Scotland since the 2014 summer tour of North America and South Africa, while 23-year-old Edinburgh loosehead Rory Sutherland is primed for his international debut.

Other changes to the replacements list see Glasgow Warriors back row Ryan Wilson and centre Peter Horne also recalled.

Cotter knows not only his side, but his reign as head coach, will come under scrutiny if they fail again against the Azzurri after last year’s whitewash.

But the former Clermont Auvergne boss tried to give off an air of calmness as he said: “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 have shown they are a talented team, particularly in their performance away against France, but also against England.

“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.

“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, Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Willem Nel, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, John Hardie, David Denton

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

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