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Hadden plays down Italy pressure

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Interview: Scotland head coach Frank Hadden

By Brian McLauchlin and Martin Conaghan

Scotland coach Frank Hadden has played down suggestions that there is added pressure on his shoulders ahead of Saturday's visit by Italy.

His side have lost their opening two Six Nations matches, but Hadden stressed that there is always pressure to win with the national side.

"What the fans need to see is that we continue to make progress we've made in the last two games," he said.

Ten players missed training on Monday either through injury or being rested.

Dougie Hall, Craig Hamilton, Jim Hamilton, Kelly Brown, Scott Gray and Ally Hogg all picked up injuries playing for their clubs at the weekend, while Geoff Cross and Simon Webster had pre-existing problems.

Meanwhile four players have been added to the Scotland squad with lock Scott MacLeod, flanker Alan MacDonald, prop Ed Kalman and hooker Scott Lawson all recieving call-ups.

Euan Murray and Simon Danielli were resting after games played on Sunday as Hadden prepares his side to face the bottom-placed Italians at Murrayfield.

"There's always an enormous amount of pressure on us to deliver and that's the way we like to approach it," said Hadden.

"The players need to understand how important it is to win for their country and they understood that last week - and we got the sort of response we wanted last week.

"We're expecting more of the same this week."

Scotland have secured just three victories in the last 12 months under Hadden and could face the prospect of the wooden spoon in the Six Nations if they fail to earn a result against the Italians.

However, he dismissed concerns over his ability to cope with the pressure and was keen to concentrate on repaying the Scotland fans for their faith in the national side.

"That's not something I concern myself about," said Hadden.

"Ultimately, the most important thing is to get ourselves off to a good start, get the crowd behind us and hopefully that will set the tone for a famous day.

"It's vital that we play in a way that gets the crowd behind us and we'll do everything we can to play in a way that the Scotland crowd expect us to."

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see also
Southwell targets win over Italy
17 Feb 09 |  Scottish
Scots hopeful over Murray return
16 Feb 09 |  Scottish
Better times ahead, says Hadden
14 Feb 09 |  Scottish
France 22-13 Scotland
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union


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