Scotland blow Italy away
Scotland blow Italy awaySHARE
Scotland scored four tries on their way to a dominant 34-10 victory over Italy in their Six Nations clash at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The Azzurri could not back up their victory over France in Rome last week, and were put under constant pressure by a committed Scotland side that made the most of their opportunities.
In front of a full-house, the Scots made a rousing start with wing Tim Visser and Ruaridh Jackson immediately in the action with piercing runs.
Visser was denied a try by a wicked bounce as he tried to latch on to a beautifully-weighted lob from Greig Laidlaw.
Having weathered the early storm, the Italians, victors over France last weekend, replied in positive fashion.
They were handed a clear-cut chance to break the deadlock when lock Jim Hamilton was offside in a maul – but Luciano Orquera shook his head in disbelief as the ball crashed back from the post.
Italy kept up the momentum and only some excellent foraging work by Rob Harley stepped the tide in the short term before a huge clearance from Stuart Hogg eased the pressure further.
That was the cue for Hamilton and Johnnie Beattie to test the visiting defence with powerful runs, which led to a penalty opportunity for Laidlaw – which he confidently took from 35 metres to give his side the lead against the run of play.
Laidlaw's strike prompted the Italians into mounting more raids at the other end, but without looking likely to break through.
Conversely, while Scotland's attacks were not frequent – but they looked more capable of earning points.
And sure enough, Laidlaw doubled his penalty tally following a ruck offence.
Centre Matt Scott then homed in on the line when the Italian back markers made a hash of dealing with a Sean Lamont chip.
But Scott's dash was halted by a marvellous tackle by scrumhalf Tobias Botes.
The celebrations among the home fans were only delayed for a matter of seconds as they watched Visser jinxing his way to a touchdown from 20 metres after he had taken a lovely short pass from Jackson.
Laidlaw added the extras from a tricky angle to provide Scotland with another dose of self-belief.
Italy found more fluency in the build up to the interval and they at least broke their duck through an Orquera penalty in the 39th minute.
But the Scots punished them two minutes after the restart with a try right out the top drawer.
Sean Maitland was the creator, coming off his wing and into midfield.
His offload to Scott was perfectly executed and the youngster wasn't going to be caught this time. Laidlaw again converted.
Even better was to come for the hosts four minutes later when Hogg finished the game as a contest.
Italy looked certain to score as Orquera broke into the danger zone – only for the flying Scot to intercept his pass.
Hogg had 90 metres and at least four markers to negotiate, but he answered the challenge with verve and poise to grab their third try, giving man of the match Laidlaw an easy kick to open up a 24-point gap.
Italy made a spate of substitutions in a bid to change the pattern of the encounter, but at this stage the Scots were in total control.
Scott ploughed over again in the corner following more quick-handed work by Maitland, but the effort was chalked off for a marginally forward pass.
However, touchdown number four did come along almost immediately, courtesy of Lamont, who scooted in under the crossbar after scooping up a loose ball at the base of an unattended ruck.
Man of the match: Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg continued his impressive form with another solid performance which included a stunning individual try that sealed victory for his side.
Moment of the match: Italy looked certain to score their first try as they stormed into the Scottish 22 but Hogg had other ideas, intercepting the last pass from Luciano Orquera and racing away to score at the other end of the field.
Villain of the match: There were none.
Tries: Visser, Scott, Hogg, Lamont
Cons: Laidlaw 4
Pens: Laidlaw 2
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 (captain), 6 Robert 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 (captain), 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.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland), Leighton Hodges (Wales)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)