Hogg anxious for victory

Scotland are determined to follow up last week's morale-lifting win over England by ensuring they avoid the wooden spoon. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Scotland are determined to follow up last week’s morale-lifting win over England by ensuring they avoid the wooden spoon.

The Scots need to beat Italy in Rome this weekend by five points or more to escape the ignominy of finishing last in the RBS 6 Nations for the third time in four years.

But Italy have beaten Scotland three times in the championship since 2000 and flanker Allister Hogg admits the team cannot relax after their Calcutta Cup success.

"We could put the spoon in the cup, I suppose," the 25-year-old joked, before turning serious.

"But we don’t want to finish bottom of the table. It’s a pride thing, and depending on how other results go on Saturday, we could finish fourth in the table instead of fifth.

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"We want to finish the tournament on a high. We’ve got to go out there and perform and get the win.

"If we lose at the weekend then what we did against England will be forgotten about. It would be a massive letdown for the fans and for us."

Italy will hope to maintain their good record against the Scots and Hogg believes they are now more dangerous than they have been before.

Hogg said: "They’ve obviously improved. They’ll approach the game in the way they have every other game by looking to utilise their strong forwards.

"But now, with (Andrea) Masi at stand-off, they have a player who likes to run – if he gets half a gap he loves to have a go – and at the same time they also like to throw it wide as well.

"So they do mix it up a little bit now. But that doesn’t really change what we have to do. First and foremost for us forwards is that we have to stop them up front and kill their go-forward."

Twelve months ago Scotland surrendered 21 points in seven minutes at the start of their game against Italy at Murrayfield and went down 37-17.

Hogg was on the bench on that occasion but has vivid memories of what happened.

He said: "When we went 7-0 down so early, I just thought, ‘Gee, that’s a bad start’.

"Then when it went to 14-0 I thought it couldn’t get any worse. Then, seven minutes in and we’re 21-0 down. It was pretty freaky.

"But you learn from it. You can’t self-destruct like that and expect to win a game.

"I don’t think it will happen again. Like every good team we have learned from our mistakes."

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