Rugby Union: Wainwright welcomes chance of redemption

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The Independent Online
Rob Wainwright recalls less than fondly Scotland's previous venture on Italian soil, a miserable defeat that the Lions flanker is anxious not to see repeated in Treviso today.

The Scottish captain's resolve will be toughened further by the prospect of a Five Nations opener in Ireland in a fortnight's time. Recent record defeats to France, Australia and South Africa raise the stakes higher still. Two years ago, Scotland sent a near full-strength side to Rieti for what was nominally an A match against Italy, and suffered a 26-17 defeat.

"At that time, I think Scotland underestimated the Italian threat," Wainwright said, "and possibly didn't play with the commitment that was required. The difference this year is that Italy have got a better record than we have. We are under a lot of pressure, having had a difficult start to the season."

As far as Wainwright is concerned, however, losing would not necessarily be the disaster that some pundits are predicting.

"We have said we have to win to set up our season but we have to put it into context," he said. "If we go back two years ago we were in a similar predicament, having drawn with Western Samoa after the World Cup, and things weren't looking quite so good. We went on to have an exceptionally good Five Nations."