Danielli's art paints Hadden out of an awkward corner

Scotland 26 Italy 6
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The Independent Online

Amid the rust and the clankingly inanimate fare on display at this Antiques' Roadshow of a Six Nations contest, a couple of collectors' items. For Sergio Parisse, Italy's No 8 and captain, there was a drop goal – not quite from the range of the 40m effort that Zinzan Brooke hammered into England's coffin in the1995 World Cup semi-final, but a rarity from a member of the international back-row union none the less. Thankfully for Scotland, there was not much else from Nick Mallett's seriously off-colour azzurri – just a Luke McLean penalty, actually.

For the Scots, above all else, there was a vital win to put on the Six Nations board. There was also a gem of a try by the dashing Simon Danielli, the first in the international arena for five years by the Edinburgh-born wing with the Italian ancestry. The Oxford graduate has traced his Mediterranean heritage to a Venetian artist who packed his paint for Britain in the 17th century. Apart from the brilliant brushstroke of the dashing Danielli's long-range scoring run, and for Parisse's drop of colour, this was Etch-A-Sketch stuff rather than masterpiece material. Not that Scotland and their coach could have cared.

With a second-half try from replacement flanker Scott Gray and 16 points from the kicking boots of Chris Paterson and Phil Godman, it added up to a winning picture for Frank Hadden. There might need to be another to keep the coach in his job beyond the conclusion of championship business, but after defeats against Wales and France, the Scots can bask in the afterglow of a Six Nations success.

"A roll always starts with one win and it was important to make sure we got that one win today," Hadden reflected. "We were more decisive in attack and defence. It's always difficult against Italy. They're a very robust and physical side. Sometimes it can be a bit messy but we stuck to our guns."

It was fractious from the start, but far from disastrous for Scotland. Compared to two years ago, when they furnished the Italians with three converted tries in the opening six minutes, it all went swimmingly. Fortunately for them, they had Paterson on the field as a blood replacement for Godman when they were presented with penalties in the fifth and 12th minutes. The man with the golden right boot hit the bullseye with both, then returned to bench duty with Scotland six points up and Godman's left eye patched.

There might then have been a self-inflicted wound of the metaphorical nature but when Hugo Southwell's stray pass gave Alessandro Zanni a sniff of the home try-line, Danielli came to the rescue, hauling down Italy's blindside flanker 5m shy of the whitewash. Still, there was a memorable moment to follow, Parisse executing his drop from just outside the 22m line – with the aplomb of a Wilkinson if not quite the clout of a Brooke.

A Godman penalty nudged the score to 9-3 but the contest was going nowhere until Danielli cut through in the 35th minute. He did so from a neatly executed line-out move, taking an inside pass from Graeme Morrison and eluding pursuers with a mazy run. Godman's conversion left Scotland with a 16-3 cushion and they were never out of the comfort zone thereafter, with Italy's fightback amounting to a 55th-minute McLean penalty.

As for the Scots, they plundered a second try in the 63rd minute, Danielli feeding Thom Evans wide on the left and Gray following up to claim his first international score when the Glasgow wing was halted by Parisse.

Scotland: H Southwell (C Paterson, 47); S Danielli, M Evans, G Morrison (N de Luca, 68), T Evans; P Godman (C Paterson, 4-13), M Blair (capt) (C Cusiter, 56); A Jacobsen (A Dickinson, 65), R Ford (D Hall, 53), E Murray (A Jacobsen, 66, K Brown, 68), J White, A Kellock, A Strokosch, J Barclay (S Gray, 57), S Taylor.

Italy: A Marcato (G Rubini, 47); Mirco Bergamasco, G Canale, G Garcia, M Pratichetti; L McLean, P Griffen (P Canavosio, 57); S Perugini, L Ghiraldini (F Sbaraglini, 60), M Castrogiovanni (C Nieto, 60), S Dellape (C del Fava, 58), M Bortolami (J Sole, 77), A Zanni, Mauro Bergamasco, S Parisse (capt).

Referee: N Owens (Wales).

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