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Stephen Ferris: Scotland have too much for struggling Italy

| 11.03.2022

Ladbrokes ambassador Stephen Ferris casts his eye over this weekend’s Six Nations games and gives us his best tips from the fourth round.

The former Ireland international has already given us his thoughts on Wales v France and England v Ireland so here he looks at the clash between Italy and Scotland.

Italy v Scotland (Sat, 14.15, ITV)

Scotland’s dream of winning the Six Nations is over for another year. There was so much hope after their brilliant win against England in round one, but if the truth be told, Scotland don’t deserve to be in the mix because their performances just haven’t been up to scratch. A team with lots of potential who now have a chance to put a score on Italy in their own backyard.

The Italians will have to really raise their level of performance if they are to get a foothold in this match. Italy, with their new coaching staff headed up by Kieran Crowley, have been so disappointing yet again in the Six Nations. The alarm bells were ringing loudly when at home against England in round two they didn’t even register a point on the board.

This was the perfect opportunity for everyone in world rugby to start questioning Italy’s longevity in the competition. The rumours that South Africa are going to take their place added fuel to the fire and this negative media hype must be tough for the Italy squad. However, World Rugby have insisted that Italy have their backing. Hopefully this puts a number of unwanted rumours to bed.

How competitive will Italy be this week? They found it tough going against Ireland and being down to 13 men for most of the game really didn’t help matters. You can’t say there was a lack of effort by the Italians, however you can say that spirits must be at an all-time low because they look further away from winning a Test match than they ever have. Very challenging times for Italian rugby, but they must persevere and continue to grow the game across the whole country.

Duhan Van Der Merwe is unavailable due to being banned for a red card last week in a club game. Another South African- born player, Kyle Steyn, takes his place on the wing. Matt Fagerson is back at No 8 which will be a massive boost and with Sam Johnson being brought back into the mix, it feels like Scotland just can’t get their inside centre nailed down. A few changes but Scotland still look strong enough to give Italy another hiding.

Prediction: Scotland -20 on the handicap @ evens

First try: Chris Harris @ 16/1

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Warren Barner