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Rupert Wyman 27th Feb 2009 - 10:32

Scotland to give Italy a Wooden Spoon beating

Scotland and Italy play what already looks like being a Six Nations Wooden Spoon decider at Murryafield in just the third round of matches with neither side yet to register a win.

The Wooden Spoon has been 'won' by one of Scotland or Italy in every year since Italy joined the then Five Nations to make it Six in 2000, with the exception of 2003 when Wales had the 'honour' of finishing last.

Therefore matches between the sides generally tend to be key in deciding who finishes bottom. Italy go into this match looking for their first ever hat-trick of Six Nations wins as they previously beat the Scots in 2007 and 2008.

However Scotland have won five out of the nine Six Nations meetings and look well placed to improve that record to six out of ten.

The home side are priced at 2/7 to win the match with an Italian win at 5/2 and the draw is available at 20/1.

On the handicap Italy are given a nine-point start and both sides are at 10/11 and the draw is a 14/1 shot.

Frank Hadden's side look the bet on the handicap line. If they perform anywhere near like they did in Paris two weeks away then they should have far too much for the Italians.

Scotland look a much more threatening side now with the presence of the Evans brothers, Max and Thom, in the back-line. As before Scotland relied too much on their forward play and the ever-reliable kicking abilities of Chris Paterson.

However the Scots demonstrated too much indiscipline in Paris and if they concede so many penalties again they could well be punished and suffer the humilation of another defeat at Murrayfield against Italy like they did two years ago.

Italy though also have their own discipline problems as they also conceded too many penalties two weeks ago against Ireland.

The away side won't be punished early on by kicker Paterson this year though as Scotland's most-capped player and all-time record points-scorer yet again starts on the bench having done so in the previous matches against Wales and France.

Hugo Southwell continues at full-back with Simon Danielli and Thom Evans on the wings. Thom Evans looks like the one to back in the try scorer markets. He is 8/1 to score the first try and 6/4 to score one at anytime. The youngster crossed the line against France last time out and he certainly has the talent to deliver the goods again.

Prop Euan Murray returns after missing the first two matches through injury and he should give the scrum a more solid look. Lock Alastair Kellock will join the Northampton prop in the scrum as he starts his first match in over two years.

For France Stade Francais winger Mirco Bergamasco is the obvious choice to score a try for Nick Mallett's side at 9/4.

The win is essential for Scotland and Frank Hadden's future as coach. A defeat could spell the end of his time at the helm, with just three wins in the last year. You can catch all the action live on BBC One from 15:00 on Saturday and we will of course be offering our betlive service on this Six Nations match with a range of in-running betting opportunities.

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