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Maitland eyes win over Italy

Sean Maitland insists Scotland must prevail in this weekend's clash with Italy if they have any hope of resurrecting their 6 Nations campaign.

The New Zealand-born back saw the pride of his first cap and first score for the Dark Blues soured by the final result as England ran away with a 38-18 win at Twickenham on Saturday.

Winning the championship may have been a tall order for a side still recovering from last season's whitewash but Maitland acknowledged all hope will be gone unless the team can muster a victory against an Italy side brimming with confidence.

While Scotland failed to keep hold of their early advantage after Maitland had dived over for his maiden try for the land of his Glasgow-born grandparents against the Auld Enemy, Italy did succeed against their much-fancied opponents 24 hours later.

But while the Azzurri's 23-18 success against France in Rome may have raised eyebrows among some, it has only narrowed Maitland's focus on the importance of this Sunday's Murrayfield clash.

He said: "Italy will be up for this. It's a huge game and it's do or die - the breaking point of our season.

"It definitely doesn't get any easier for us and it's a must-win game. We have to do ourselves justice."

The source of Scotland's problems in London was their inability to compete with the physically superior English at the breakdown.

The result was that Maitland - who was expected to be the Scot's main attacking threat - spent most of the match defending for his life as the team struggled to stem the never-ending surge of English forays.

Scotland's interim head coach Scott Johnson spared little with his criticisms of his team's failure to compete in rucks and mauls but Maitland believes he and his team-mates can conjure a better display if they get their heads round the task.

He said: "Can we solve the problems with the breakdown in the space of a week? Well, it's not as if you go out there and smash bodies and do drills all week.

"It's a mindset and an attitude thing. If you get yourself mentally right then that can be easily fixed."

Maitland's try after just nine minutes was not the most difficult score he has ever notched up as he dived over from three yards out.

But the 24-year-old - who quit the country of his birth to sign for Glasgow last summer, with an eye on making the step up to international level with his ancestral homeland - says it will be one he will always remember, in spite of the final score.

He said: "It definitely justified my decision to come over here. I have no regrets at all.

"Singing the national anthem, pulling on that Dark Blue jersey for the first time, scoring my first try. It was all special.

"The result didn't go our way but you have to take the positives and keep moving forward.

"When I scored, I was over the moon. I can't really describe what I was feeling. I gave the crowd a few first pumps. It was a great memory.

"However, there was a few mixed emotions after the game. I'm still glad to get that first try under my belt but it was gutting to lose.

"It looked like it was going to be a good day for us after leading for most of the first half.

"It was an awesome pitch, nice and hard, but I just couldn't get my hands on the ball.

"It was frustrating as, really, I just D'd (defended) for the whole game.

"England didn't let us get any quick ball the whole game. They hurt our breakdown and our efficiency in the tackle areas, so we were always on the backfoot.

"We need to work on that this week. Hopefully we can get a bit more of the ball this weekend and show the Murrayfield crowd what we can do."