After wins from the U20 and Women’s teams, Italy was comprehensively beaten at Murrayfield
The final score of 33-20 does not reflect Scotland dominance in the game.
Scotland was sovereign in the first 70 minutes of the game, scoring five tries to zip, before shutting down in the last 10 and conceding three late tries to Italy.
Italy’s forwards defended fiercely, but they were let down by the backs. The centres weren’t able to stop the rampaging Scotts through the middle once they managed to break the line an the wings left huge space in the backs for the home team’s aerial game.
Italy’s try arrived with less than 10 minutes to play, then the game was won by Scotland, and came at a disappointment for Italy, as they showed what they could have done if they’ve just had more possession and territory
The result, despite the late twist, was a clear win for Scotland and yet another disappointing Six Nations loss for Italy.
With the first possession, Hogg and Laidlaw created a scoring chance after just 3 minutes. The veterans combined on the left wing to gain a 5 meter line out. The following maul resulted in a ball grounded over the line but with a double movement that resulted in a penalty against the home team.
Kinghorn put again Scotland in a position to score two minutes later with a line break in the middle of the field. Italy’s defence was fierce and Esposito forced Hogg to the penalty.
Against the flow of play, Italy was first on the board: a tip tackle against Parisse gave the Wild Boars the first kickable penalty of the match, which Allan slotted with ease.
Scotland’s reaction was immediate, a superb Russell’s cross kick gave Kinghorn the easiest of the runs to the try line.
Kinghorn running towards the try line
At the 16th minute the two teams squared off for the first scrum of the match and Italy gained a free kick, Parisse called another scrum albeit to concede a free kick to the hosts.
The next scrum was played 10 meters from Italy try line after an error from and it was easily won by Scotland to set up Kinghorn’s second try on the left corner.
Italy’s reaction wasn’t enough and only made for some much needed territory and possession, but no score.
Scotland had the last say in the first half but again the visitors stopped them in their 22.
Finn Russell’s kicking game was superb:
The second stanza started as the first one ended: with Scotland deep in Italy’s half, but after 12 attacking phases the hosts lost the ball in a tackle.
Another kick from Russell set up the third Scottish try with Hogg touching down beating Esposito to put the hosts 16 points ahead.
Scotland stung again through the middle with Richie and Kinghorn scored his hattrick try beating three defenders at the 16th minute, virtually closing the game.
Blair Kinghorn scoring
Shortly after Scotland’s substitute back Harris cross the line for his first international try.
Italy finally get to score a try of their own: after repeated infringements Scotland was punished with a yellow card and scrum half Palazzani scored after a quick tap under the posts.
Padovani was the second scorer for the Wild Boars after some much needed territory and Esposito was again quick over the line after another Campagnaro break.
Campanaro breaking the Scottish line
Scotland exposed Italy’s backline with the kicking game, the wingers, Campagnaro and Esposito, sat too close to the defending line, leaving prairies to Hayward to cover and consequently huge space to Russell, Laidlaw and Hogg’s kicks.
Castello and Morisi, the centres, weren’t able to close the gaps in the middle and conceded too many easy meters to their opponents.
Italy’s scrum, usually solid, wasn’t up to it’s level at Murrayfield: stability was never there and too often the players engaged too early or forced resets.
Italy’s late scores are a positive sign for the next game and a worrying one Scotland, who wasn’t able to keep the concentration once the mission was accomplished.
For Italy the matched brought two milestones: captain Parisse reached the record for caps in the Six Nations with 66, one more of another legend of European rugby, Brian O’Driscoll, and vice-captain Ghiraldini achieved the century for the national team. Both would have wished better circumstances to celebrate their milestones.
Scottish players congratulate Parisse exiting the field
Scotland 33 (12):
Try: Kinghorn (3), Hogg, Harriss
Conv.: Laidlaw 4/5
Italy 20 (3):
Try: Palazzani, Padovani
Conv.: Allan 1/1, Mc Kinley 0/1, Esposito 0/1
Pen.: Allan 1/1