Scotland records vital win in Italy
Henry Pyrgos’s late score obtained Scotland their first victory of 2015 as they overcome Italy in an uneventful World Cup warm-up match in Turin on Saturday.
Scotland’s Duncan Weir sent over three penalties in the first half, but Gonzalo Garcia’s reply combined with two strikes from Tommaso Allan ensured the scores were level at half-time, 9-9.
Pyrgos then scored a converted try after the break to win it after Allan had beforehand given the Azzurri the lead from the tee.
The two sides meet again at Murrayfield next Saturday, before Scotland head coach Vern Cotter announces his 31-man Scotland squad for the World Cup before a final pre-tournament match away to France on September 5th.
The Scots then kick off their World Cup campaign against Japan in Gloucester on September 23rd, while Italy begin their tournament with a tough clash against France at Twickenham four days prior.
Following a try-less opening half Italy edged into a three-point lead through Allan, and it appeared the Azzurri had the momentum, but the hosts’ were left aggravated as the visitors’ courageous defence upheld.
As time ticked on a try for either side seemed improbable until Scotland replacement Hamish Watson made the difference, combining with Tonks fabulously to release Matt Scott. Glasgow scrum-half Pyrgos then popped up to receive a pass from the centre to touch down the only score.
Weir added the two points as the Scot’s held on to avoid a seventh straight defeat and in doing recorded a first win of 2015.
Scotland made a collective 345 metres compared to the Azzurri’s 299.
John Hardie made an incredible joint-match-high of 15 tackles and earning the approval of BBC Scotland’s Jamie Lyall.
Man of the match- John Hardie
The latest Kilted Kiwi import put in a determined performance as he tackled everything in sight to protect Scots try-line on his debut. It was a thoroughly Impressive display from the free agent, who had never set foot in Scotland until he arrived to join the squad six weeks ago.
Loser of the match- Jacques Brunel
It was the Italy head coach’s first official game since a miserable showing during the Six Nations. His starting XV was determined by a combination of injury, illness and suspension. Nevertheless, in a game that he knows they should have won he will be distraught.
Italy: Masi; Venditti, Benvenuti (McLean 67), Garcia, Sarto; Allan, Palazzani; Aguero (Rizzo 48), Giazzon (Ghiraldini 48), Cittadini (Castrogiovanni 48), Geldenhuys (capt), Bernabo (Bortolami 51), Zanni, Minto, Vunisa.
Scotland: Tonks; Lamont, Vernon (Horne 67), Scott, Hughes (Hoyland 62); Weir, Hidalgo-Clyne (Pyrgos 61); Reid, McInally, Cusack (WP Nel 46), Gray, Hamilton, Strokosch (capt), Hardie (Watson 55), Ashe.
John Paul Doyle (Ireland)