Italy face Scotland in Turin on Saturday in a warm up game for the upcoming Rugby World Cup as both countries preparations begin to intensify.
Italy coach Jacques Brunel has named an experienced side for Saturday’s match which is Italy’s first World Cup warm up game. South African born lock Quintin Geldenhuys will captain the side with regular captain Sergio Parisse being rested after suffering from flu.Geldenhuys will partner Valerio Bernabo in the second row engine room, with Bernabo making his first start for the national side in over two years. In he backs, Tommaso Benvenuto is also handed his first start in over two years as he partners Gonzalo Garcia. Tommaso Allan, a former Scotland under-21 player, takes the pivotal fly-half role and Brunel will be looking to Allan to dictate the pace of the game in what is expected to be a cagey affair. Italy defeated Scotland 22-19 in this year’s Six Nations and they will be keen to seal a victory over the Scots again as they look towards the World Cup. Drawn in Group D with fellow Six Nations sides Ireland and France, Italy will have a tough task to qualify for the Quarter Finals.
Scotland come into Saturday’s game on the back of a solid performance against Ireland last weekend, eventually going down 28-22 in Dublin. Coach Vern Cotter has made 11 changes to his 25 man squad from the side that went down to Ireland. Nine of these changes come in the forwards as Cotter look to give as many players a possible a run out before announcing his final squad. Scotland will captained by Grant Gilchrist who will be making only his ninth international appearance, his career having been curtailed by injuries over the past couple of seasons. Although defeated by Ireland last week, Scotland did look improved from their inept performances in this year’s Six Nations. Falling behind early to the Irish, Scotland performed well to battle back into the game before succumbing to two late Irish tries. If Scotland can carry this improvement into Saturday’s game then they could well record their first victory of 2015 after seven attempts. Saturday’s match against Italy is the first of two back-to-back games against the Italians with the return leg a week on Saturday at Murrayfield. Cotter will then announce his final World Cup squad before Scotland’s final warm up game against France in Paris on September 5th.
Scotland are favourites for victory in Turin on Saturday at 1.70 (7/10) with Italy available at 2.4 (7/5). Coming into Saturday’s game after a good performance against Ireland last week, the rugby tip is Scotland to win at 1.70 (7/10).
By: Scott McGlynn