Italy v Scotland: Teams
At Stadio Olimpico, Saturday March 17, kick-off 12.30pm
Last Updated: 16/03/12 12:29pm
Italy and Scotland go head-to-head in Rome with both teams once again desperate to avoid the dreaded RBS Six Nations' wooden spoon.
For the second successive year, the two teams must battle it out in the final round of matches to avoid the ignominy of finishing sixth in the tournament.
Since the Azzurri joined the competition in 2000, one or other has finished bottom of the table 11 times out of 12. Italy have been in last place nine times, including the last four years in a row when Scotland have finished just above them.
A first victory in Rome since 2006 is necessary for Scotland to avoid finishing bottom of the pile for the third time - having also done so in 2004 and 2007.
Italy head coach Jacques Brunel has made seven changes to his team with talismanic prop Martin Castrogiovanni fit again after a rib injury.
Elsewhere Giovanbattista Venditti returns on the wing, Tommaso Benvenuti - who scored against England in Rome - comes in at centre while Edoardo Gori takes the scrum-half duties.
As well as Castrogiovanni up front, Fabio Ongaro, Marco Bortolami and Robert Barbieri are in to shore up the pack, and Brunel has urged his team to show more confidence against Scotland.
"We have spirit but we lack certainty in our game, we're still beneath the bar we set ourselves," he said.
"We're still too timid, we've got too much fear, we need to find synthesis between the forwards and the backs.
"But I'm asking for a slightly different organisation and we still need to oil the cogs. But there you go, we've the right spirit. It's just that there isn't much time as we only have six test matches before the next Six Nations tournament.
"We don't have the time to try things out if that doesn't work, we have to move on quickly to something constructive."
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has made just one change for the clash, with the return of Nick De Luca for the injured Lee Jones.
The Scotland supremo is under no illusions that the Italians will be equally desperate for a win in Rome.
"They're a team that has been developing. They will want to get a win out of the championship, as we do," said Robinson.
"There will be two desperate sides to win the game. They want to defend their own territory and they do it with real pride.
"You're going to be tested physically by the Italian front five, their back row are skilful and good in the air, but also the Italians have been developing their back play.
"Whilst it's probably not been seen yet, they have some dangerous runners and good finishers.
"We go into every game expecting to win and working to win and believing we have the game if we perform at our very best.
"We've not been at our very best in every single game and that's why we've not won the games.
"It's about putting in an 80-minute performance."
Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Gonzalo Canale, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Kris Burton, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Lorenzo Cittadini, 18 Joshua Furno, 19 Simone Favaro, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Tobias Botes, 22 Giulio Toniolatti.
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.