Make or break for Scotland...
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. And Visser 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. 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."