Planet Rugby

Scots hand wooden spoon to Italy

19th March 2011 13:45

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Sean Lamont offload for Scotland against Italy

Played well: Sean Lamont

Scotland crossed the line twice on Saturday to claim a morale-boosting 21-8 victory, thus condemning Italy to the Six Nations wooden spoon.

Line-out accuracy and goal-kicking had let down Italy early on as Leonardo Ghiraldini and Mirco Bergamasco struggled to find their range.

But hitting the target was no such problem for the hungry Scots as tries from Nick de Luca and Nikki Walker finally ended an embarrassing run that had seen their last score at Murrayfield coming in November 2009. Andy Robinson was happy.

It was by no means a classic for what was a basement battle in Edinburgh. Both sides were desperate to avoid bottom spot in a World Cup year and the efforts showed a great deal of guts while the showmanship was duly sacrificed.

Scotland did show flashes of good rugby though and it can't be underplayed how much makeshift centre Sean Lamont has brought to their midfield alongside Joe Ansbro, who was unfortunately carried from the action early on with a knee injury.

But his replacement - Nick De Luca - was to be the man to finally put an end to their unwanted Murrayfield try-scoring record as he was on the end of a well-worked move down the left wing, finishing soundly in the corner on 47 minutes. Chris Paterson was unsuccessful with the conversion but did contribute eleven points on the day while making another try-saving tackle.

Italy were very much in proceedings though and were in fact ahead at the break, courtesy of an Andrea Masi try, with Bergamasco adding three points to 20 minutes later.

Scotland however moved back into the lead in the 55th minute, when Walker shrugged off replacement Luke McLean's challenge to atone for his earlier missed tackle with a try.

The Italians fought gamely to try and force their way back into it, but Paterson added another penalty before making that fantastic late tackle on McLean to deny the Italians a score.

Man-of-the-match: Despite being outrun by a hooker when he probably should have scored, Sean Lamont was superb for Scotland. Strong in the tackle and powerful when in possession, his move to inside centre could now be permanent.

The scorers:

For Scotland:
Tries: De Luca, Walker
Con: Paterson
Pen: Paterson 3

For Italy:
Try: Masi
Pen: Bergamasco

Scotland: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 Simon Danielli, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Sean Lamont, 11 Nikki Walker, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Kelly Brown, 7 John Barclay, 6 Nathan Hines, 5 Alastair Kellock (capt), 4 Richie Gray, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Euan Murray, 18 Richie Vernon, 19 Alasdair Strokosch, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Dan Parks, 22 Nick De Luca.

Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Kris Burton, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Sergio Parisse (capt), 7 Paul Derbyshire, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Carlo Antonio Del Fava, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Andrea Lo Cicero, 18 Valerio Bernabo, 19 Robert Barbieri, 20 Pablo Canavosio, 21 Luciano Orquera, 22 Luke McLean.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Alan Lewis, John Lacey (both Ireland)
TMO: Hugh Watkins (Wales)

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