Ross Ford will lead Scotland into Rome's Stadio Olimpico on Saturday seeking a first victory as captain and hoping to avoid the ignominy of the RBS 6 Nations wooden spoon.
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After colossal displays as part of sterling efforts, albeit in defeat, against England, Wales and France, Ford and his team performed below their best in last Saturday's 32-14 loss to Ireland.
Ford was named captain for the tournament after injury ruled back-rower Kelly Brown out of contention, while the four who had held the role previously under head coach Andy Robinson - lock Alastair Kellock and scrum-halves Mike Blair, Chris Cusiter and Rory Lawson - were not considered as they are not guaranteed a place in the starting XV.
Edinburgh hooker Ford admitted the captaincy has been far from plain sailing thus far, but he and the squad are determined to right the wrongs of the campaign against Italy this weekend.
Ford said: "It's not ideal, but I've got a lot of experienced boys around me and the squad are tight.
"We know results aren't ideal and we're not in the position we wanted to be, but this is the last game of this championship so we've got to make sure all the hard work we've put in over the past eight weeks comes to something on Saturday.
"We've had opportunities when we could've won two out of the four games, but as it is we're going to Rome and we need to get this win.
"It's all in our hands. We've got the game to beat Italy."
Robinson was today set to name his team as he bids to improve his record of 11 losses in 14 Six Nations games.
Scotland require a first win in Rome since 2006 to finish fifth ahead of the Azzurri and there is a concern that Robinson, who is contracted until the 2015 World Cup, might resign if his side lose at Stadio Olimpico, thereby extending their run to seven straight losses for the first time since 1998.
At least one change to the starting XV is necessary, with wing Lee Jones (concussion) out, while there are fitness concerns over full-back Stuart Hogg (shoulder and groin), centre/wing Max Evans (calf), scrum-half Mike Blair (shoulder), flanker John Barclay (ribs) and centre Nick De Luca (hamstring).
There was sufficient worry for Robinson to call up three additional players - Worcester centre Alex Grove, who has three caps, Bath full-back/wing Jack Cuthbert, who has one, and uncapped Glasgow Warriors full-back/centre Peter Murchie.