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Blair wants Scotland to put faith in the Grays

Mike Blair, the former Scotland captain, has named brothers Richie and Jonny Gray as two players with the ability to rescue Scotland from further humiliation in this year's RBS 6 Nations, when the national team faces Italy in a potential wooden spoon decider.

The Scots have succumbed to limp defeats in matches against Ireland and England so far and will play in Rome a week on Saturday.

The faltering campaign has been watched by Blair, who retired from the Test scene two years ago. The 32-year-old is certain that Scotland's scrum would improve were all three of Johnnie Beattie, Ross Rennie and Dave Denton to feature. The pack could then be bolstered further by the addition of the Gray brothers.

Blair, the Newcastle Falcons scrum-half, also believes it is time for Scotland to stop relying on passion and desire to produce success on the pitch and instead select players who have the skill and accuracy to command a match.

"The Calcutta Cup [match] at Murrayfield was the perfect scenario for the Scots to regain some lost pride on the back of a lacklustre display against the Irish," said Blair. "Sadly, and rather depressingly, it was not to be and the game was lost with barely a shot being fired.

"The line-out was a shambles for the second week running. The set-piece gives a team such a foothold in the modern game that you simply cannot afford to have your lineout functioning at 53%.

"There will be much deliberation about the selection for the Italy match and a pack containing Richie and Jonny Gray, with Beattie, Denton and Rennie, would be exciting. Of course, there are some issues with these guys all playing together and I'm taking nothing away from the boys who have been playing in those positions. I just want to try to point out that Scotland do have players who can play a game based on power, finesse, offloading and tempo.

"Games can no longer be won with passion and desire alone. Without the accuracy of skill execution and game understanding those traits are inconsequential."

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