Scotland legend Chris Paterson has urged Gregor Townsend’s team not to take victory over Italy for granted, while paying tribute to former coach and colleague Massimo Cuttitta, who will again be remembered in Rome on Saturday. 

Paterson, Scotland’s record cap holder with 109 appearances in a 12-year international career, knows all about suffering defeat in the Eternal City, having lost there in 2004 and 2008.  

He said there’s a “real thirst” from the current squad to improve upon their performance against England – despite winning the Calcutta Cup for a fourth consecutive year.  

READ MORE: Five things we learned from Scotland's Calcutta Cup win 

Paterson said: "The performance will have to improve when they go away from home next up in Rome against a good Italy side. 

“The players will be recharging physically and mentally now as they have two big away matches to come. 

“I thought the Italian defence in the first half against France was incredible and was probably overlooked a bit. 

“It’s a long time since I have seen a team defend for 20-25 minutes and not concede a point against a team that includes world class French players. 

“That defence the Italians have got and that way they find the edge in attack means they are a tough nut to crack. Never take a result in Rome for granted.” 

Saturday’s match will also see the sides contest the Cuttitta Cup in memory of former Italy international and Scotland coach Massimo Cuttitta who died in 2021. 

Cuttitta won 70 caps for Italy in a decade-long Test career from 1990, captaining his country on 22 occasions. 

Scotland Rugby News: Jamie Ritchie lifts the Cuttitta Cup after last year's meeting between the sidesJamie Ritchie lifts the Cuttitta Cup after last year's meeting between the sides (Image: SNS)

When he retired as a player, he soon began coaching, working initially as a scrum consultant with Edinburgh Rugby but then dovetailing that duty with Glasgow Warriors before becoming Scotland scrum coach from 2009-2015. 

During that time, Paterson hung up his own boots and began working with the national team and the professional sides as a specialist skills coach.  

Paterson was speaking as he handed over the ball for Saturday’s Six Nations clash to a group of cyclists who are travelling between each of the Six Nations venues, finishing in Rome, and raising money for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.  

READ MORE: Scotland legend remembers Doddie Weir ahead of epic cycle

When they arrive in the Italian capital, they will hand over the ball to Cuttitta’s brother Marcello.  

Paterson said that shows the strength of the rugby community.  

"It just highlights the links that rugby has, between Scotland and Italy, Massimo and Marcello, and there’s a link with Doddie and Monaco.  

“I was at the [World Rugby] Awards where he owned it on stage and probably opened up another part of the public that needed to be aware of the horrible nature of this disease. It ties it all together. It’s a big rugby family and a big MND family.“   

Paterson said Scotland and Italy playing for the Cuttitta Cup was a fitting tribute to his former coach and colleague Massimo.  

The 45-year-old Scotland legend shared his memories of Cuttitta: “He was a big member of the squads I was involved in. I worked closely with him immediately after I retired.  

“He was such a kind-hearted man, big, big presence, but such a gentle soul.

Scotland Rugby News: Massimo CuttittaMassimo Cuttitta (Image: SNS)

 “He was the type of person who could see if you were struggling when everything else was going on around a big game and he’d always take time out to ask you how you were, it was so sad that he passed away.  

“It is great that people are working together to keep his memory alive because he meant a lot to the people in Italy, but he meant a lot to us in Scotland too.”