Six Nations 2016: Scotland face 'make or break' Italy clash - Visser
|Six Nations: Italy v Scotland|
|Date: Saturday, 27 February Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Kick-off: 14:25 GMT|
|Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland & Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary|
Recalled wing Tim Visser admits Saturday's clash with Italy is crunch time for Scotland's Six Nations hopes.
A 10th straight championship loss would ramp up pressure on coach Vern Cotter and his team, but victory in Rome would restore optimism with two games left.
"For us, this is the make-or-break game where we can put ourselves in a good position to move forward," Visser said.
"But we are not looking further than the weekend. Italy are a good team at home and we have to get a win."
Dutch-born Visser returns for his first Test since facing South Africa at last year's World Cup.
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After the tournament, he scored six tries in his first eight games for new club Harlequins, who he joined after a prolific six years at Edinburgh, before suffering a hamstring injury against Gloucester in late December.
But, after six weeks on the sidelines, two 80-minute outings for Quins in the last fortnight have seen the 28-year-old earn a swift return to Scotland duty.
'Tim has a nose for those five-pointers'
"I have had a good period at Quins and I just have to bring that form onto the international stage," he said. "All the pressure is on me, so I will try to deliver.
"My rugby has gone back to how we used to play at Edinburgh back in the day.
"It is quite an expansive style at Quins. I get a lot of ball and am seeing the fruits of that. It has always been there. It just needs to come out."
Visser has scored three tries in his three previous Tests against Italy, including two in a thumping 48-7 World Cup warm-up Test victory last summer, the last meeting between the countries.
Scotland coach Cotter noted: "Tim is a finisher. He is good at scoring points - and we will need points.
"He has a nose for the line, for those five-pointers.
"It is key that we get him involved and get his hands on the ball quickly so he can express himself."
'This team will win at some stage'
Scotland are aiming to end a nine-game Six Nations losing run with victory in Rome, scene of their last win in the championship two years ago.
However, despite the mounting pressure, Cotter insists that Saturday's pivotal encounter - one of Italy (10 times) and Scotland (four) have finished with the Wooden Spoon in all but two years of the Six Nations era - "is not the end of this Six Nations".
"There are two games after this one, but it is positive pressure," he insisted. "We want to play well, play better and get a result.
"We know we will have to be on top of our game to do that against this team.
"The players are desperate for a win. If we don't get it this week then we will strive for it next week.
"This team will win at some stage because there is that determination within and they are proud players."
'The Latin mentality is very reactive'
Nevertheless Cotter, who spent eight years coaching French giants Clermont Auvergne, has warned that Italy will be dangerous opponents in Rome, where Scotland have lost on five of their eight Six Nations visits.
"You have got to understand the Latin mentality," he added. "They are very reactive and, if things are not going well around them, generally that is when they are at their most dangerous.
"They are proud people and a proud nation and they are playing well. They have young guys coming through and Carlo Canna at number 10 is running the game well for them.
"They set their sights on this game every year. They are playing at home, so there is a lot of pressure on them and it will be a real challenge for us to execute our game plan.
"It is going to be a tough environment, but the guys are really looking forward to it."
|Scotland v Italy - recent meetings|
|Aug 2015: Scotland 48-7 Italy||Jun 2013: Scotland 30-29 Italy|
|Aug 2015: Italy 12-16 Scotland||Feb 2013: Scotland 34-10 Italy|
|Feb 2015: Scotland 19-22 Italy||Mar 2012: Italy 13-6 Scotland|
|Feb 2014: Italy 20-21 Scotland||Aug 2011: Scotland 23-12 Italy|