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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 17:37 GMT
Blair warning over Italy threat
Mike Blair
Blair said the Scots faced a tough match in Rome
Scotland captain Mike Blair has warned his team-mates against complacency in the final Six Nations clash with Italy.

Fresh from their Calcutta Cup win, the Scots travel to Rome knowing the losers on Saturday land the Wooden Spoon.

And Blair said Scotland were under no illusions over how difficult it would be to win at the Stadio Flaminio.

"The squad has talked this week about having to play better than we did against England if we are to beat Italy," the 26-year-old said.

Italy must beat Scotland by five points or more to avoid the Wooden Spoon.

The Azzurri have beaten the Scots twice in their four previous Six Nations meetings in Rome and also at Murrayfield last year.

Italy are one of the more aggressive teams in the championship and they play a good brand of rugby

Mike Blair

Frank Hadden's side faced England at Murrayfield last week on the back of three bruising defeats by France, Wales and Ireland.

But the Scots mastered the treacherous conditions in Edinburgh to earn a 15-9 win.

Blair said that victory had eased anxiety among the squad, but he stressed the players would not rest on their laurels.

"There were some pleasing aspects about the England game - the defence in particular was very good," the Edinburgh scrum-half said.

"Italy are one of the more aggressive teams in the championship and they play a good brand of rugby.

"Their pack is very combative with a strong scrum, the driving line-out has been one of their key weapons and they've got a couple of great centres in Mirco Bergamasco and Gonzalo Canale."

Blair said Scotland would have to be clinical against the Italians and avoid basic errors in defence.

"A lot of the games this season have been low scoring affairs, so we're going to have to be tight on our discipline and not give away stupid penalties," he said.

"When we get chances we're going to have to ensure we take them."

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