Scotland end drought against Italy

Date published: August 22 2015

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Scotland picked up their first Test victory since November 2014 as they battled past Italy 16-12 at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin on Saturday.

It wasn't pretty in this Rugby World Cup warm-up clash but the Scots won't mind that as it's a win on the board ahead of hosting Italy next weekend.

Replacement scrum-half Henry Pyrgos crossed for the all-important late try to seal victory for Scotland, with few other scoring opportunities to speak of.

It was a good start for Scotland as they got on the board inside three minutes thanks to a scrum penalty which fly-half Duncan Weir converted.

The lead was doubled ten minutes later after Italy failed to release the tackled player on the ground but that was against the run of play, as the Azzurri showed a willingness to run inside the Scottish half. Left wing Leonardo Sarto was one man eager for work and made decent ground.

Italy did manage to cut the lead down to three points when inside centre Gonzalo Garcia landed one at the second time of asking from distance. However, the margin was back up to six soon after as Italy number eight Samuela Vunisa was penalised for not rolling away. Weir did the rest.

As expected, points were coming from the tee and not from tries in Turin as before long, Tommaso Allan stepped up with three points after the Italians had won a scrum penalty. With 25 minutes played in warm conditions, it was 9-6 in an even opening that was yet to open up in any way.

Allan would bring the scores level going into the break which was a fair reflection of how the half had played out at that the Stadio Olimpico.

Unfortunately for the spectators at the venue, there was little improvement to the spectacle after the interval but the home fans would have been happy to see Allan step up once again in the 62nd minute after a Scottish ruck infringement. Still though try-scoring opportunities weren't forthcoming.

But that all changed with eight minutes remaining in a poor second-half as replacement scrum-half Pyrgos' support line inside Matt Scott gave Scotland the lead at 16-12 with Weir's conversion.

Then it was a case of seeing out matters for Scotland as they ran down the clock to end their long wait for a win.

Man of the match: Was solid all game and set up the only try of the game. Hats off to Scotland inside centre Matt Scott after a workmanlike showing.

Moment of the match: See above. With no tries on the board, the cool head of Scott allowed him to draw the last man and gift wrap a score for scrum-half Pyrgos.

Villain of the match: Nothing dirty to report in a poor game.

The scorers:

For Italy:
Pen: Garcia, Allan 3

For Scotland:
Try: Pyrgos
Con: Weir
Pen: Weir 3

Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Giovambattista Venditti, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Guglielmo Palazzani, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Valerio Bernabó, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys (c), 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Marco Bortolami, 20 Mauro Bergamasco, 21 Marcello Violi, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Luke McLean.

Scotland: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Richie Vernon, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Rory Hughes, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 John Hardie, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Grant Gilchrist (c), 4 Richie Gray, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Henry Prygos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Damien Hoyland.

Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Luke Pearce (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

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