Six Nations: Scotland ‘can beat Italy’

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Recalled Scotland back-row Johnnie Beattie knows that improvement can be made in the overall structure of Scottish rugby, but also insists that the Scots can win in Italy on Saturday.

The Montpellier No.8, who will win his 29th cap in Rome on Saturday after being preferred to Edinburgh’s David Denton in the starting XV for the Six Nations clash, said: “We’ve kicked away possession and defended 80 per cent against England.

Johnnie Beattie

Johnnie Beattie

“If we hold ball, organise ourselves, go forward and try and crack them, there’s every chance we can get a win.”

Addressing the major debate on Scottish rugby that has raged since Scotland’s two losses to Ireland and England, Beattie was forthright, although his views chimed with the SRU’s wish-list for academies and a competitive elite club structure which they would control.

“If the Italians leave (the PRO12 league) and Wales play in the English League, will we have our own Scottish League and get our own house in order,” he continued. “If that is the way forward, the standard is not going to be great at the start, but in 10-15 years time you hope it is.

“I talk to people in France and try to explain how the Scottish system works and they don’t believe it. Having said that, every country has its faults. We need to widen our base.”