For the first time ever, the Scots won their first two matches of the tournament to leave them in title contention, and they still impressed at times even in subsequent defeats by France and Ireland. Gregor Townsend’s side trailed the Irish by just a point at half-time last week.
With England travelling to Dublin later on Saturday evening, Scotland could finish third regardless of what they do in Edinburgh, but a win of any kind would almost certainly seal it.
As for Italy, the focus is on avoiding the wooden spoon, which they have picked up every year since 2015. A really strong opening display against France raised hopes of a more competitive Italian side, but since then it’s been inconsistent and the losing bonus point picked up in that match is the only time they have troubled the standings.
Scotland vs Italy date, kick-off time and venue
Scotland vs Italy is the opening match of the final weekend of the Six Nations, before Wales travel to face France and Ireland then look to secure the Grand Slam as they face England in Dublin.
The game kicks off at 12:30pm GMT on Saturday March 18, 2023 at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.
How to watch Scotland vs Italy
TV channel: In the UK, Scotland vs Italy is being televised live on BBC One, with coverage starting from 12pm.
Live stream: Fans can also watch the game unfold live online via the BBC iPlayer or BBC Sport website.
Scotland vs Italy team news
Scotland will be without key duo Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, after the pair picked up injuries in the defeat by Ireland.
Ollie Smith and Blair Kinghorn come into the side as a result, while lock Sam Skinner also starts with Richie Gray ruled out.
Hamish Watson’s return at openside flanker sees captain Jamie Ritchie shift to the blindside, as Matt Fagerson drops to the bench. Rory Sutherland, WP Nel and Ben Healy are among those brought into the squad as replacements.
Italy make four changes too, after their defeat to Wales. There is a debut for 21-year-old Simone Gesi, with the winger introduced as Edoardo Padovani drops out.
Alessandro Fusco comes in at scrum-half in place of Stephen Varney, while Edoardo Iachizzi and Marco Riccioni get their chances from the off at Murrayfield too.
Hooker Marco Manfredi is named among the replacements and will be hoping to make his debut at some point during the match.
Scotland vs Italy lineups
Scotland XV: Smith; Steyn, H Jones, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe; Kinghorn, White; Schoeman, Turner, Z Fagerson, Skinner, J Gray, Ritchie (c), Watson, Dempsey.
Replacements: Ashman, Sutherland, Nel, Cummings, M Fagerson, Price, Healy, Redpath.
Italy XV: Allan; Bruno, Brex, Menoncello, Gesi; Garbisi, Fusco; Fischetti, Nicotera, Riccioni, Iachizzi, Ruzza, Negri, Lamaro (c), L Cannone.
Replacements: Manfredi, Zani, Ceccarelli, N Cannone, Pettinelli, Zuliani, Garbisi, Morisi.
Scotland vs Italy head to head (h2h) history and results
Scotland are on a run of 11 straight wins over Italy, who have only twice won at Murrayfield before.
The most recent of those came in 2015, when a last-gasp try gave the Italians a famous 22-19 victory in Edinburgh.
Scotland wins: 26
Italy wins: 8
Scotland vs Italy prediction
A win over Italy should be enough for Scotland to secure third spot, and they will be confident of achieving that even with Russell and Hogg absent.
The Scots pushed Ireland all the way in the first 40 minutes a week ago before falling away slightly in the second half, but they have shown enough throughout the tournament to suggest they are well-capable of finishing on a high.
There was plenty of positivity around Italy’s chances against Wales, but they made a dreadful start to the match and any repeat of that here will likely see them blown away early on.
It’s likely to be an entertaining start to Super Saturday before the tension kicks in later in the day, with Italy needing to win to avoid another wooden spoon and Scotland always a good watch.
A defeat for Townsend’s side would be a real blow as attention switches to the Rugby World Cup - it surely won’t happen though.
Scotland to win, by 15 points.
Scotland vs Italy match odds
Scotland to win: 1/10
Italy to win: 13/2
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).