Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Maitland sets sights on win over Italy

Sean Maitland scored a try on his Scotland debut

Try-scoring winger Sean Maitland insists Scotland must prevail in this weekend's meeting with Italy if they have any hope of resurrecting their RBS 6 Nations campaign.

The New Zealand-born back saw the pride of his first cap and first score for the Dark Blues soured by the final result as England ran away with a 38-18 win at Twickenham on Saturday, while Italy overcame France 23-18 in Rome 24 hours later.

"Italy will be up for this. It's a huge game and it's do or die - the breaking point of our season," said Maitland. "It definitely doesn't get any easier for us and it's a must-win game. We have to do ourselves justice."

The source of Scotland's problems in London was their inability to compete with the physically superior English at the breakdown.

The result was that Maitland - who was expected to be the Scot's main attacking threat - spent most of the match defending for his life as the team struggled to stem the never-ending surge of English forays.

Scotland's interim head coach Scott Johnson spared little with his criticisms of his team's failure to compete in rucks and mauls but Maitland believes he and his team-mates can conjure a better display if they get their heads round the task.

He said: "Can we solve the problems with the breakdown in the space of a week? Well, it's not as if you go out there and smash bodies and do drills all week.

"It's a mindset and an attitude thing. If you get yourself mentally right then that can be easily fixed."