Scotland v Italy, Six Nations Championship, February 28
Mallett changes four for Scotland
February 25, 2009
Marco Bortolami returns to the Italy second-row © Getty Images
Italy coach Nick Mallett has made four changes from the side that lost 38-9 to Ireland for their vital trip to face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Andrea Marcato slots in at fullback in place of Andrea Masi, who is serving a three-week ban for a dangerous tackle on Rob Kearney, while Marco Bortolami returns in the second-row in place of Tommaso Reato.
The other change in the forward pack saw Saracens hooker Fabio Ongaro dropped to the bench, with Calvisano's Leonardo Ghiraldini stepping in to the front-row, but Ongaro has been ruled out with an injury sustained in training. The beneficiary of Ongaro's misfortune is uncapped Benetton Treviso hooker Franco Sbaraglini, who slots straight in on the bench. The other change comes with Gonzalo Garcia starting at inside-centre, with Mirco Bergamasco moving to the wing in place of Luke Mclean, who drops out of the squad.
Overmach Cariparma utility back Giulio Rubini has been named on the bench and will make his international debut if called on to the field.
Mallett has lamented the mistakes that cost the side against England and Ireland, and has called for his team to show a higher level of concentration and execution at Murrayfield.
"The individual mistakes have cost us a lot," said Mallett. "We have given away seven tries in our opening two games due to our mistakes and this cannot be. Against Ireland, we made 75 tackles forward and we only recovered three balls and this is a problem for us.
"Scotland against Wales and France played well even though they lost both games. They have a new playmaker in Phil Godman, who is very fast and very dangerous in the last 10 metres."
Mallett is without Masi following his ban, but will not excuse his actions.
"He has lacked discipline and intelligence," said Mallett. "We cannot give our opponents an advantage at this level of the competition because, as we have seen, we will pay for our mistakes."
Wing Mirco Bergamasco is also expecting a tough test from the Scots, playing up the added pace brought by players such as Thom and Max Evans.
"We face a very different Scotland team, with respect to the past," admitted Bergamasco. "They have faster players, with respect to Ireland. The results in our two opening games have not reflected the good work we have done in training. We have made silly mistakes that at this level are costly. In any case, we have shown a slight improvement against Ireland than with respect to our defeat against England. Against Scotland we will have to be more efficient in attack and maintain more possession."
Italy: Andrea Marcato (Benetton Treviso); Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Francais), Gonzalo Canale (Clermont-Auvergne), Gonzalo Garcia (Calvisano), Matteo Pratichetti (Calvisano); Luke McLean (Calvisano) Paul Griffen (Calvisano); Salvatore Perugini (Stade Toulousain), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Calvisano), Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers), Santiago Dellape (Toulon), Marco Bortolami (Gloucester), Alessandro Zanni (Calvisano), Mauro Bergamasco (Stade Francais), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais)
Replacements: Fabio Ongaro (Saracens), Carlos Nieto (Gloucester), Carlo Antonio Del Fava (Ulster), Pablo Canavosio (Viadana), Josh Sole (Viadana), Andrea Bacchetti (Rovigo), Giulio Rubini (Cariparma)