Planet Rugby

Sensational Scotland hammer Italy

09th February 2013 16:14

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Scotland v Italy Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg

Star man: Stuart Hogg

An exceptional effort at the breakdown helped Scotland to a confident 34-10 victory over Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Four tries, including a brilliant length of the field interception try from Stuart Hogg, led to a memorable victory for Scotland in front of a vocal home crowd at Murrayfield, compensating for the performance against England at Twickenham last weekend.

Interim head coach Scott Johnson had bemoaned his side's lack of intensity in the tackle area against England in Round One, but there was to be no let-up from the Scots at Murrayfield - throwing their bodies into the breakdown and forcing the Italian platform that stood solid against France to collapse.

That pressure on the half-backs was illustrated by the performance of Luciano Orquera. Sensational against Les Bleus, Orquera fumbled, shanked and laboured against Scotland - a shadow of the player who was so impressive six days before in Rome.

Both sides played with a level of ambition that this fixture has witnessed too little of in previous years, with Italy still riding high after last weekend's victory over France.

Handling errors were a plenty though and it took a penalty from Greig Laidlaw after 15 minutes to open the scoring, handing Scotland the lead.

Little errors continued to compound long periods of Italian possession throughout the opening quarter, with Scotland frustrating the Azzurri at the tackle area, Laidlaw adding another further three points to hand Scotland a 6-0 lead after 25 minutes.

A howling missed kick from Tommaso Benvenuti handed Scotland centre Matt Scott the opportunity to score in the left corner, only to be denied by a brilliant try-saving tackle from Tobias Botes.

The missed chance though was a warning shot - Ruaridh Jackson creating the space for Tim Visser minutes later down the left-hand side and the Edinburgh flyer jinked his way through for the opening try.

Italy looked to have the final say in the first half and Orquera's made no mistake with his second penalty attempt to leave the score at 13-3 going into the break.

Scotland's dominance continued after the interval - an attacking lineout producing a second try as Matt Scott dived over following a great offload from Sean Maitland in midfield.

Stuart Hogg then hammered the nail into the Italians coffin, intercepting a two-on-one that would have certainly led to a try for Italy to scamper down the length of the pitch himself, his second exceptional try of the Six Nations stretching the lead to 27-3. Orquera, his final act of the afternoon being the pass that set Hogg free, swiftly left the field.

Fortune continued to work against Italy as the half wore on, a strong attacking position in front of the Scottish posts snuffed out by a powerful drive in the scrum from the home pack.

Maitland looked to have made another fine assist for Scott in the right-hand corner later on, but his pass was marginally forward as Scotland sought to pile on the humiliation with a fourth try.

They did not have to wait long. Sean Lamont pouncing for his ninth international try, a loose ball at the back of the Italian ruck snatched up by the centre who raced away to score under the posts on a dream afternoon for the home side.

Italy did work a consolation score, a well-worked scrum resulting in an inside flick from Parisse into the grateful path of Alessandro Zanni who powered over for the try.

But this was Scotland's day - a great response to the criticism thrown their way after their defeat at Twickenham and a feast of tries for Murrayfield to savour.

Man of the Match: Scotland's pack were so strong that this honour is split between Euan Murray and Kelly Brown - each player making 15 tackles in an excellent defensive performance.

Moment of the Match: Undoubtedly Stuart Hogg's breakaway score that put Scotland out of sight. A potential Lion in waiting.

Villain of the Match: The wild missed hack from Giovambattista Venditti was both hilarious and tragic, but more importantly nearly cost his side a try.

The scorers:

For Scotland:
Tries: Visser, Scott, Hogg, Lamont
Con: Laidlaw 4
Pens: Laidlaw 2
Yellow Card: Cross

For Italy:
Try: Zanni
Con: Burton
Pen: Orquera

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Kelly Brown (capt), 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Moray Low, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Alastair Kellock, 20 David Denton, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Max Evans.

Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovambattista Venditti, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Gonzalo Canale, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Francesco Minto, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Paul Derbyshire, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Kristopher Burton, 23 Gonzalo Garcia.

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