Italy’s Budd targetting Scotland for long-awaited Six Nations win

PARIS (AFP) – Italy second-row Dean Budd said his side are targetting the visit of Scotland in two weeks’ time to end their record winless streak of 24 straight Six Nations matches.

New Zealand-born Budd is part of an Azzurri outfit whose negative run stretches back to February 2015 but will host Gregor Townsend’s side, who are also yet to claim a victory this campaign, on February 22.

“Scotland are always with us unfortunately (in) the battle of the battlers down the bottom and it’s one we’re going to be targetting,” Budd told AFP after last Sunday’s 35-22 defeat by France.

“I’m not going to go out and say Scotland are a bad team because they’re bloody class. They’re really a good side but playing at home is certainly an advantage for us,” he added. Budd said he wanted better weather in a fortnight’s time in the Italian capital compared to the heavy rain and strong winds caused by Storm Ciara which hit during the loss to Les Bleus.

“We’re hoping for a nice sunny day in Rome and we can try and throw the ball around a bit more,” he said.

Reports in the French press said former captain Sergio Parisse will return to the Test scene to say his goodbye either as

Scotland visit the Italian capital or as England head to the Stadio Olimpico on March 14.

“I honestly don’t know if he’s involved or not so I can’t even give you an inside word on that. Hopefully it’s a positive influence,” the Whangarei-native said.

Italy’s lock Dean Budd is tackled. PHOTO: AFP