Stopping the longest streak of failure in European rugby against a team almost rampant with self-confidence is the task facing a Scotland squad holding on to the last strands of confidence in a Six Nations that promised much but delivered the same old story.
Glasgow’s longest-serving player Graeme Morrison, honoured in their final home league game against Ospreys last month, has retired from professional rugby on medical grounds.
What should have been the last day of the club league season will turn out to be exciting after all, as Kirkcaldy attempt an escape from relegation to match any from Alcatraz or Colditz.
Scotland have been forced into one change for today's Six Nations wooden spoon decider against Italy and there may well be another before referee Steve Walsh signals the start.
Scotland will have their fourth different midfield partnership in as many games, another switch of scrum-halves and a further rejig of the back row as head coach Andy Robinson battles to come up with a combination to get his side back to winning ways in Sunday's Calcutta Cup match against England at Twickenham.
SEAN MAITLAND took just seven minutes to mark his introduction to Murrayfield with a try but Glasgow’s new strike weapon isn’t regarding it as “the first of many.”
Ross Ford almost drove himself over the edge in his determination to keep his Scotland place, but the hooker will be back fully refreshed and in peak condition for the first World Cup warm-up match against Ireland at Murrayfield.
Saturday's opening RBS 6 Nations match against France in Paris looks like coming just too early for Johnnie Beattie, with assistant coach Graeme Steadman admitting there was "a question mark" about whether the No 8 is ready three weeks after his return from injury.
One of Scotland's most promising back prospects will not face legend Brian O'Driscoll as he prepares to make his professional debut for Glasgow Warriors in their final game of the season against Leinster in Dublin tonight.
The British and Irish Lions roared to victory in nine-try fashion at Patersons Stadium - but they were left sweating on an ankle injury suffered by Ireland prop Cian Healy.