Scotland wing Tim Visser ready for 'make or break' Italy clash
Scotland wing Tim Visser admits the Dark Blues must triumph in Rome this Saturday if they are to stand any chance of salvaging their RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Vern Cotter's team travel to the Eternal City desperate to breath fresh life into their crumbling Championship by beating Italy at the Stadio Olimpico.
Nine successive defeats, though, have raised fresh questions about Cotter's leadership after last year's whitewash and the general direction of Scottish rugby - and a 10th at the hands of the Azzurri would only add fuel to the outcry that has followed the opening losses to England and Wales.
But Harlequins flyer Visser - who has shaken off a hamstring strain to secure his first involvement of this year's tournament - believes victory this weekend could yet prove the spark which allows Scotland to finish on a high.
"It's so important we come back from Rome with a win," said the Dutch-born former Edinburgh man. "For us, this is make or break for the Six Nations.
"This is the game where we can put ourselves in a good position to move forward.
"But we're not looking further than the weekend obviously. Italy are a good side at home and we've got to go over there and get a good win."
Visser's last involvement with the national team came during last year's World Cup, where the Dark Blues came agonisingly close to knocking-out eventual runners up Australia in a quarter-final thriller.
But the surge of confidence that brave display produced has already disappeared on the back of yet another under-whelming start to the Six Nations.
Visser, though, admitted he was at a loss to explain why the buzz produced by the Scots' encouraging display at England 2015 has not lasted longer.
"It's hard to say," the 28-year-old said. "We've missed out on crucial points at crucial stages of games. That's how you lose.
"Looking back at the Wales match, if Hoggy [full-back Stuart Hogg] hadn't gone off injured or we had sneaked another try in that crucial period just before they scored their second, that might have made the difference in the last 20 minutes.
"If we can score crucial points at important times this weekend, then yeah we can win.
"But if we can play to our capabilities like we did at the World Cup then we should get a win. But it all depends on ourselves really."
Cotter admitted his side are desperate to end their losing streak but did his best not to hype up this weekend's match as a wooden-spoon decider.
"The boys just want to play well," said the Kiwi. "They are desperate for a win.
"If we don't get it next week then we must certainly strive for it in the next game.
"This team will win at some stage because there is that determination within. They are proud players.
"If we tick our boxes around the contact area, get the scrum and line-out working well and defend when we need to defend then we have shown we can be dangerous once we get our hands on the ball."
Visser was a try-scoring sensation in his early days at Edinburgh but decided to make the switch to Quins last summer in a bid to re-invigorate his dwindling form.
Six tries in 10 outings for his new side have provided proof he is close to his best once more and now he wants to carry that swagger onto the Test arena.
"The plan is to try and claim a regular starting berth for Scotland," said Visser, whose inclusion in place of the benched Sean Lamont is Cotter's only alteration from the XV who kicked-off in Cardiff. "I hope it happens now.
"I've had a good period with Quins and now I need to bring that back home to the international stage.
"All the pressure is on me so I'll try to deliver.
"I feel the move is certainly bringing out the best rugby of my career. I've gone back to how I used to play with Edinburgh back in the day.
"We play a very expansive type of rugby with Quins. I get a lot of ball so I've been able to pick the fruits of that. That form has always been there, it just needed the chance to come out."