Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Scrum will be key - Cuttitta

Massimo Cuttitta wants his side to take control at the scrums
Massimo Cuttitta wants his side to take control at the scrums

Scotland's stretched scrum resources have been backed to come through what could be the hardest test of their summer tour to South Africa with flying colours this weekend.

The man making the prediction is Massimo Cuttitta, Scotland's scrum coach, who believes his speciality will be the key to Saturday's final match of the Incoming Series tournament against Italy in Pretoria.

"They (Italy) are going to want to prove themselves in the scrum, they are good in that area. Every time we play them and that is somewhere we have to target them," said Cuttitta, who captained Italy during his playing career.

"They are good there but if we can target their set-piece then that is a big step to winning the game. We need to confront them up front, we can't let them do what they have always done.

"They have some interesting youngsters and are also blooding a few younger players.They have two or three good loosehead props coming through [Lorenzo] Cittadini who is a good tighthead. [Martin] Castrogiovanni has experience and will mentor these boys. They are not bad."

One advantage for both teams is that they know each other well from Six Nations meetings, with the recent pattern being that each wins its home games and loses away. The most recent meeting was Scotland's 34-10 victory in Edinburgh earlier this year.

"They were convinced that they would come to Murrayfield and win and were really surprised at how we came at them," Cuttitta said. "That is how we have to approach them again, the same as last time - just like it was at the weekend, where the effort was really good.

"There are a lot of positives to take out of that match against South Africa. As coaches we have reviewed it and there are a lot of positives. Yes, there are still a lot of things we have to work on, but we can say there were a lot of good things."

For Cuttitta, one of the tour's biggest problems has also been its biggest strength. The sequence of injuries that disrupted preparations and then meant even more turnover of players during the trip has forced him to have a look at players usually on the fringes, and some have shown promise for the future.

"You just have to get on with things, it is a good way to measure other personnel. I am happy with what we have; it gives others a chance to prove themselves, which is a good thing," he added.

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