Scotland captain Rory Darge said Scotland will need to be patient in Rome on Saturday and not chase the four tries they need to keep their slim championship hopes alive.  

Gregor Townsend’s side need to win in Rome, and ideally with a bonus point, to keep the pressure on Grand Slam chasing Ireland, who play England at Twickenham in Saturday’s other game.  

An emboldened Scotland backed themselves to score tries from penalties against Wales in Cardiff and in the defeat to France at Scottish Gas Murrayfield.

They then showed a more pragmatic side in the Calcutta Cup triumph last time out, with Finn Russell opting instead to apply scoreboard pressure from the tee.  

Darge said it’s not something he and co-captain Russell have discussed and insists the priority will be winning the match first.  

READ MORE: What is needed for Scotland to keep Six Nations dreams alive

“We have to get what we can out of this game first and foremost. We’ve got to start well and go and win the game. 

“If it gets to the stage we’re on three tries, it [the bonus point] might come into the thinking, but initially it’s just about winning the game.” 

He added the squad has not discussed the possibility of Duhan van der Merwe breaking Stuart Hogg’s try record.

READ MORE: The 'race for 28' heads to Rome 

The Edinburgh wing, who Darge lauded as a “Test match animal” is one behind Hogg’s tally of 28 after his Calcutta Cup hat-trick.  

The co-captain added: "I know one of his tries [against England] was off our defensive efforts and then the turnover attack.  

“If we do get ourselves right, then we can put guys like that in. He's obviously a great finisher.  

“Sometimes you only need to give him half a chance and he comes away with a chance, so it could happen. 

Scotland Rugby News: Duhan van der Merwe needs two tries to break Stuart Hogg's all-time Scotland recordDuhan van der Merwe needs two tries to break Stuart Hogg's all-time Scotland record (Image: SNS)

"It would be a nice place for him to do it but I don't think he'll have too much of his mind set on that. 

“He'll just be focused on his role, and he might come away with a couple, but I'm sure Italy will put us under a lot of pressure.” 

This is Darge’s second trip to Italy, while he also encountered Michele Lamaro and company during a World Cup warm-up match last summer.  

He expects a physical encounter and believes this Italian side has shown improvements throughout the campaign.  

The 24-year-old said: “They've been good, particularly in that France game. They had lots of really physical, desperate efforts on their goal-line to give themselves a chance and then showed some really good attack in the second half.  

"They are a good side and we are well aware of the threats they pose.” 

One of the key areas in determining Saturday’s winners will be the battle at Darge’s area of expertise, the breakdown. He knows they have multiple jackal threats that will look to slow down Scotland’s ball.  

Scotland Rugby News: Italy captain Michele LamaroItaly captain Michele Lamaro (Image: SNS)

“They go hard at the breakdown and they’re a really physical side,” he said.  

“They’ve got a couple of good individuals at the breakdown, but they can win turnovers all through their team. We need to be on it all times.”  

Italy remain winless in this year’s Six Nations, but should have ended that run against France in Lille last time out. A wayward rugby ball falling from the kicking tee as Paolo Garbisi lined up a last-minute penalty attempt to win the game costing Gonzalo Quesada’s team.  

Darge believes that will be a motivating factor for the hosts on Saturday.  

“It’s tough. They gave themselves an opportunity to win the game with the last play and the ball falls off the tee.  

“I imagine it’s a tough one to swallow but it happens to all teams and I imagine it’s a motivator for them. They’ll be desperate to get something out of this game because they’ll feel like they should have in France.” 

Scotland’s co-captain will be joined in the back-row by Andy Christie, promoted into the starting XV in place of Jamie Ritchie, who is on the bench.  

READ MORE: Gregor Townsend explains Scotland team to play Italy

Darge was full of praise for the Saracens man. He said: “He's been class. Every time he's got an opportunity off the bench, he's come in and played really well, so I'm sure he'll be really good."  

Saturday’s match will be played in front of a 70,000 capacity crowd in Rome, the first time Italy have sold out a home Six Nations game since 2016.  

Darge, though, is not expecting a hugely hostile atmosphere with up to 15,000 Scotland fans estimated to have made the trip to the Italian capital.  

Speaking after Scotland’s captain’s run at the stadium, he gave an insight to a stadium like no other in the Six Nations.  

“It is different,” he said. 

“It's a long walk but it's a cool stadium. Inside the changing room, on the walk in, with all the jerseys on the wall and stuff like that, there's a lot of history behind it, so it's a cool place to be playing rugby.  

“The Scotland fans always travel well for this one, so that will be massive for us.” 

The Glasgow flanker also reiterated the need for Scotland to produce a complete performance if they are to record a third win from four games in the championship.  

READ MORE: Pete Horne wants Scotland to deliver 'complete' performance

"A lot of the chat this week has been about the fact we’ve not had an 80-minute performance yet. 

"That’s what our full focus is on. We’re just looking at our own performance and what we can do better. We want to put it together for the full game.”