Scotland rampage past pitiable Italy
Vern Cotter’s Scotland touched down six tries as they flattened an under par Italy 48-7 in a heavily one-sided World Cup warm-up clash at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The rout surpassed both the point’s score and margin of victory Scotland achieved in a 47-15 home win over Italy in a warm-up match prior to the World Cup in 2003.
Sean Lamont and Tim Visser touched down doubles for the hosts with individual scores from John Barclay and Mark Bennett making up the scoring as Vern Cotter’s side revenged their Six Nations defeat against the Azzurri.
That defeat was part of a run that saw Scotland lose six consecutive games, which was only ended last weekend when the men in navy blue narrowly overcame Italy in Turin.
So following almost a year without a victory Scotland will now head to France for their final warm-up match against Les Bleus in good spirits.
Skipper Greig Laidlaw opened the scoring from the tee as the Scots applied pressure on the visitors from the very start.
Soon after, Lamont collected Finn Russell’s crossfield kick to touch down the first try of the game. And Laidlaw added the extras to give the hosts a ten-point lead.
Laidlaw had added another six points from the tee for the hosts before some suicidal defending from Scotland gifted Michele Campagnaro a try. Tommaso Allan added the extras to reduce Scotland’s lead to nine points.
But following a yellow card for Italy’s Francesco Minto the hosts were able to extend their lead two minutes from the break. Barclay collected from the line-out before barging over for the score, and Laidlaw again added the extras to give the Scots a 23-7 lead at the break.
Another perfect line-out rewarded Scotland again after 49 minutes when Visser was able to find space out wide and touch down his first try of the night. Laidlaw failed with his attempted conversion but made amends with a well struck penalty soon after.
Things went from bad to worse for Italy when Quintin Geldenhuys’ inaccurate pass flew into Lamont’s hands, and the 34-year old took full advantage as he ran in to touch down his second try after 63 minutes. This time the Skipper could not convert from the tee, 36-7.
Luke McLean then architected Scotland’s fifth score as his perfect pass to Visser allowed the speedster charge in from 80-yards out. Russell took over the kicking duties and added the extras.
Bennett then iced the Scots’ cake when he scored a remarkable interception try as he darted the length of the field to touch down, but Russell this time could not add the extras.
RUCK man of the match-Sean Lamont
Lamont appeared to be in superb shape and displayed real hunger and desire in scoring his two tries. The 34-year old executed everything he did perfectly and in this sort of form he will be a valuable asset to Vern Cotter at the upcoming World Cup.
Romain Poite (France)
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 David Denton, 7 John Barclay, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Matt Scott.
Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Guglielmo Palazzani, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Francesco Minto, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Joshua Furno, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Andrea Manici, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Mauro Bergamasco, 21 Marcello Violi, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Andrea Masi.