De Luca to end Scots' losing streak?
Wed, 14 Mar 2012 00:00
Scotland recalled centre Nick de Luca on Wednesday ahead of their Six Nations wooden spoon decider away to Italy in Rome on Saturday.
De Luca was a late withdrawal from the side beaten 32-14 by Ireland in Dublin last weekend because of a hamstring problem.
He returns to the starting XV after wing Lee Jones was ruled out with the concussion he suffered at Lansdowne Road.
Max Evans, who took de Luca's place at centre in Dublin, is now in Jones's right wing berth.
The only other change to the matchday 22 saw Bath back Jack Cuthbert included on the bench.
"Nick was unfortunate to miss the game in Ireland through a hamstring problem and the challenge for him on Saturday will be to contribute as purposefully against the Italians as he did in his last game, against France," Scotland coach Andy Robinson said.
"Jack has featured regularly for Bath this season. He's strong and we know from his involvement with the squad back in the summer how much it means to him to play for Scotland."
Scotland have now lost 11 of their 14 Six Nations matches under Robinson and are currently on a run of six successive defeats dating back to last year's World Cup in New Zealand.
Another reverse in Rome, where they haven't won since 2006, would condemn Scotland to a seventh straight loss for the first time since 1998.
"We are not where we wanted to be at this point in the championship," former England flanker and coach Robinson, whose side have been beaten by England, Wales, France and Ireland this tournament, said.
The Ireland loss was Scotland's heaviest of the tournament and Robinson added: "Yes, we have played some good rugby at some points in games and there has been some improvement but we all know that we need the substance that comes from a win, especially after the display in Dublin."
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Max Evans, 13 Nick de Luca, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Mike Blair, 8 David Denton, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford (captain), 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Euan Murray, 18 Alastair Kellock, 19 Richie Vernon, 20 Chris Cusiter, 21 Ruaridh Jackson, 22 Jack Cuthbert.
Date: Saturday, March 17
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kick-off: 13.30 (12.30 GMT)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Pascal Gauzere (France)
TMO: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)
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