Scotland skipper John Barclay wants his side to back their fitness and play a fast game against Italy in Singapore on Saturday.

The back-row man and his team mates are keen to get Gregor  Townsend’s reign as Head Coach off to a winning start in the Singapore National Stadium in Kallang.

However, he knows that the Italians are tough opponents also starting a new era while the heat will be something different than what they are used to dealing with at BT Murrayfield.

“It will be hot, but we back ourselves fitness-wise to adapt to the conditions,” he said.

“We want to play fast rugby. We’re not shy about saying that. That is how we want to play the game.

“The key thing is to do everything with speed. Hopefully, you’ll see a different way we approach it and sometimes it may not come off, but as long as the intent is there to play with speed, we’ll reap the benefits of that.

“Under Vern we played quick rugby as well. The intensity was high under him and he understood as a nation that that’s how we have to play. It’s how Gregor played at Glasgow and he’s placed more of an emphasis on it.

“When we beat Italy [29-0] in the 6 Nations the first half was very wet and it dictated quite a boring game with kicking and territory.

“The second half opened up a bit. You have to expect the unexpected with Italy. It’s hard to predict what they are going to do, so we’ve just focused on ourselves. We have a new coach, new systems, new calling structures.

“There are loads of new guys around this squad trying to make their mark and that’s why I love touring. There are only five guys who were on the Australia tour five years ago. It’s a bit surreal.

“There are guys here I don’t know well and they don’t know me very well. When I left Scotland for the Scarlets in 2013 some of the guys were just young pups in the academy.

“Whatever stage of our careers we are at we are keen to get this tour off to a good start and I have felt a good vibe in camp this week.”

John Barclay is pictured in  Singapore by David Gibson/FOTOSPORT

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