MX23RW : Monday, February 26 20:16:39| >> :600:258022:258022:
friendly | International Rugby Union
Jul 29, 2023 at 3.15pm UK
 
Scotland
25-13
Italy
Graham (13', 56'), Bayliss (80')
FT
Ioane (64')

Preview: Scotland vs. Italy - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Rugby World Cup Warm-up clash between Scotland and Italy, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

With the 2023 Rugby World Cup just over a month away, Scotland and Italy will begin their final preparations for the tournament when they meet in their first World Cup warm-up match at Murrayfield on Saturday.

This will be a historic occasion for the hosts as it will be the first time that they will take on the same opponent at the same venue in two consecutive games, though they have played Italy back-to-back twice in the past.


Match preview

Scotland's Huw Jones celebrates scoring their first try with teammates on March 12, 2023© Reuters

Scotland got the year started off on a positive note as they retained the Calcutta Cup for the third season in a row after beating England 29-23 in the opening match of this year's Six Nations tournament back in February.

They continued their excellent start to that tournament a week later by handing Wales an absolute hiding, winning a lopsided match 35-7, which was a record home win for them at Murrayfield over the Welsh.

However, reality returned shortly after as they were beaten fairly comfortably by France and Ireland before overcoming Italy 26-14 in their final match of the competition, which secured them third place, swapping positions with England from a year ago.

Blair Kinghorn was sensational when these teams last met, scoring a whopping 21 of their 26 points on the day with three converted tries while missing just one conversion attempt early in the match.

Over their last 10 matches in all competitions, Scotland have won five and lost five. However, they have an excellent record against the Azzurri, winning each of their last 12 encounters and the last 11 on home soil.

Italy's Tommaso Allan celebrates scoring with teammate on February 5, 2023© Reuters

Meanwhile, Italy began their year off very promisingly, coming within metres of managing a famous win over France in their opening match of the 2023 Six Nations but came up just short in a 29-24 nailbiter.

They received huge praise for their performance in that match, but unfortunately, they were unable to build on that performance as they went deeper into the tournament and ended winless after their five matches.

With that, Italy have now been awarded the wooden spoon in the Six Nations for an unwanted eighth consecutive year and 18th time in total since they joined the competition at the turn of the millennium.

To find the last time that Italy beat Scotland, you would need to look all the way back to the 2015 Six Nations when the Azzurri overcame the Scots 22-19 after being awarded a dramatic 80th-minute penalty try, which Tommaso Allan converted for good measure.

As it turned out, that was also the last time that Italy did not receive the wooden spoon at the Six Nations, and instead, it was Scotland that found themselves at the bottom of Europe's most prestigious rugby union competition.

While Italy's results at this year's Six Nations do not cover them in glory, they certainly have improved immensely over the last 12 months, as they showed in their last match against this opponent when they recorded an impressive 208 passes with just 46% of possession, which is something we are likely to see again in this one.


Scotland form (all competitions):

  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W


Italy form (all competitions):

  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L



Team News

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend before the match on November 13, 2022© Reuters

Gregor Townsend has named his team for this match, and it features a number of changes to the last one, with Rory Darge set to make his debut as captain for the hosts, having done so at the Under-20 level as well.

Glasgow Warriors centre Stafford McDowall and Leicester Tigers second row Cameron Henderson have been called up by the boss for this match and will make their national teams debuts.

Kyle Steyn and Darcy Graham will line up on the wings alongside Chris Harris, while Ollie Smith will complete the starting 15 at fullback.

Kieran Crowley has also announced the side that will start over the weekend, and it features as many as 11 changes from the team that stepped out at Murrayfield earlier in the year.

First-team captain Michele Lamaro will not feature in the match, which means that the leadership duties will fall on Federico Ruzza, who is the only forward retained in the starting 15.

Lorenzo Pani and Martin Page-Relo will make their full debuts in full-back and scrum-half respectively, while Monte Ioane has been recalled to the side after his recent unavailability.


Scotland starting lineup: 15. Ollie Smith, 14. Darcy Graham, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Stafford McDowall, 11. Kyle Steyn, 10. Ben Healy, 9. Ali Price; 8. Rory Sutherland, 7. George Turner, 6. Murphy Walker, 5. Sam Skinner, 4. Scott Cummings, 3. Luke Crosbie, 2. Rory Darge (c), 1. Matt Fagerson

Replacements: 16. Stuart McInally, 17. Jamie Bhatti, 18. Javan Sebastian, 19. Cameron Henderson, 20. Josh Bayliss, 21. Jamie Dobie, 22. Blair Kinghorn, 23. Cameron Redpath

Italy starting lineup: 15. Lorenzo Pani, 14. Pierre Bruno, 13. Tommaso Menoncello, 12. Luca Morisi, 11. Monty Ioane, 10. Tommaso Allan, 9. Martin Page-Relo, 8. Toa Halafihi, 7. Manuel Zuliani, 6. Federico Ruzza (c), 5. Andrea Zambonin, 4. David Sisi, 3. Pietro Ceccarelli, 2. Epalahame Faiva, 1. Federico Zani

Replacements: 16. Marco Manfredi, 17. Danilo Fischetti, 18. Filippo Alongi, 19. Edoardo Iachizzi, 20. Lorenzo Cannone, 21. Alessandro Garbisi, 22. Giacomo Da Re, 23. Federico Mori


Head To Head

In 35 rugby union matches between Italy and Scotland, Scotland emerged victorious 27 times, while Italy claimed victory in 8 matches, and there have been no drawn matches.

The latest encounter took place in March 2023, with Scotland prevailing 26-14.


SM words green background

We say: Scotland 27-15 Italy

Italy have improved noticeably over the last year but are still some way from troubling the top five sides in the world. Scotland have an excellent record at Murrayfield against the Azzurri, and while both sides have made plenty of changes for this match, we expect the hosts to record a solid victory.

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Game History

How you voted: Scotland vs Italy

Scotland
80.0%
Draw
0.0%
Italy
20.0%
5
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