Italy 20 Scotland 21 match report: Duncan Weir wonder strike saves sluggish Scots

Fly-half lands last-minute drop goal to clinch a first Six Nations win for  Johnson’s struggling side and put Italy on course for the wooden spoon

Stadio Olimpico

Duncan Weir’s last-gasp drop goal silenced the Stadio Olimpico and earned Scotland a dramatic victory in the contest to avoid the Six Nations wooden spoon.

Tries from Tommy Allan and Joshua Furno looked to have put Italy on course for their first win  in this season’s tournament but, 10 seconds from the final whistle, the fly-half split the uprights from 40 yards to the delight of Scott Johnson, their under-fire coach.

“I was really happy for him,” said the Australian. “Because his is in a position that carries a lot of responsibility. I seen some growth in the lad and I am so pleased.”

Prior to Weir’s moment of magic, Scotland had conjured up their first tries of the Championship through Alex Dunbar’s impressive double yet their defence failed miserably to keep a confident Italy side at bay.

Scotland had touched down in Rome in desperate need of a win after the 20-0 home defeat by England a fortnight ago. The visitors showed a hunger to attack in the opening stages but they got lucky after 13 minutes when Allan, a Scot playing for the opposition by virtue of his Italian mother, knocked the ball on just as he was about to finish off the home side’s first real attack.

But the Perpignan back was still able to put his side ahead as he successfully kicked a penalty awarded for an earlier infringement.

Greig Laidlaw put Scotland on the scoreboard as he tucked away a penalty of his own before Allan restored Italy’s three-point lead.

Scotland tried to be positive but their decision-making was once again their weak point, as the ball was often handed back to the hosts just as anything meaningful was brewing. The opposite was true of Italy as they opened Scotland up before Allan crashed through two weak tackles to score his second try for Italy, before converting himself.

Despite that setback, Johnson’s side made a confident start to the second period, trimming the Italians back by three points as Laidlaw fired over a 35-yard penalty.

They wasted a chance to cut the deficit further when Laidlaw opted against kicking an easy penalty in favour of a surprise tap-and-go, only to see Matt Scott slip just as he played in the centre.

But then, after 54 minutes, the visitors’ long wait for their first try of the tournament was ended. From a ruck, Scotland worked the ball through Scott, then Stuart Hogg and finally Dunbar, who drove between two Italian defenders before going over in the corner. They still trailed though after Laidlaw failed with his conversion attempt from wide on the right.

But in the 68th minute that changed as Dunbar scored his second try. Sean Lamont burst past Allan before passing to replacement scrum-half Chris Cusiter who shunted on for Dunbar to sprint home from 25 yards out, ignoring support runner Scott.

Weir took over the kicking duties with Laidlaw off and added the extra two points to put Scotland seemingly on course for victory.

But their carelessness looked like it had come back to haunt them as Sergio Parisse was allowed to play in Furno to level before Luciano Orquera restored Italy’s lead with the conversion.

It left the home crowd preparing to celebrate a rare Six Nations scalp until Weir’s decisive intervention.  “It’s the first time I have dropped a goal for Scotland and it has never been more important,” he said. “I am absolutely delighted. I am just so thankful it went over.”


Italy: L McLean; A Esposito, M Campagnaro, G Garcia, L Sarto; T Allan (L Orquera, 68), E Gori (T Botes, 63); A De Marchi (M Aguero, 57), L Ghiraldini (D Giazzon, 57), M Castrogiovanni (L Cittadini, 57), Q Geldenhuys, J Furno, A Zanni (M Bortolami, 73),R Barbieri (P Derbyshire, 63), S Parisse.

Scotland: S Hogg; T Seymour (M Evans, 55), A Dunbar (D Taylor, 72), M Scott, S Lamont, D Weir, G Laidlaw (C Cusiter, 63), R Grant (A Dickinson, 58), S Lawson, M Low (G Cross,  38), R Gray, J Hamilton, R Wilson, C Fusaro, J Beattie.

Referee: S Walsh (Australia)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas