Andy Robinson will reveal his Rugby World Cup squad today after securing a 100 per cent record from two warm-up matches, Scotland following up the 10-6 win over Ireland a fortnight ago by beating Italy here on Saturday. Their next match is the September 10 World Cup match against Romania in Invercargill before further Pool B games with Georgia, Argentina and England.
Robinson was clear in his mind of the final make-up of his 30-man squad ahead of this game, although the knee injury suffered by wing Nikki Walker means he is out of the World Cup reckoning. Prop Ryan Grant, flanker Robert Harley and centre Ben Cairns did not play in either warm-up game and are unlikely to travel to the training camp in Australia and on to New Zealand.
Greig Laidlaw could be the victim of competition at scrum-half after Mike Blair and Chris Cusiter – on his international return following a 17-month absence – came through unscathed on Saturday. In the front row, Geoff Cross is in pole position at tighthead prop, but on Saturday Euan Murray proved his class as a replacement for Moray Low. Murray's absence against Argentina, due to not playing on Sundays for religious reasons, may result in Low travelling, too. One of the most competitive areas is in the back row where Richie Vernon, David Denton, Johnnie Beattie and Alasdair Strokosch are vying for two places.
Scotland prevailed courtesy of prop Alasdair Dickinson's first Test try, an opportunist's score from Blair and 13 points from the boot of Dan Parks, whose experience in managing a game may edge him in front of Ruaridh Jackson in the bid to start at fly-half.
Italy had troubled their hosts, with Tommaso Benvenuti finishing off a length-of-the-field move and Fabio Semenzato touching down early in the second half after wriggling out of an attempted Vernon tackle, but Scotland held on.
A positive for the home side was the performance of man of the match Nick De Luca. Although a likely try-scoring opportunity was spoiled when he broke through only to be tackled before releasing to men outside him, the Edinburgh centre stated his case to start in Invercargill. He said: "I was delighted to put my best foot forward and to hopefully give Andy Robinson an easy decision. I'm happy with what I've done. We're just not quite there yet, but it was only our second hit out."
Bath full-back Jack Cuthbert is likely to be one of the disappointed, having only had a short cameo appearance against Ireland, and Simon Danielli is also likely to miss out. PA
Scorers Scotland: Tries Blair, Dickinson, Conversions: Parks 2 Penalties Parks 3. Italy: Tries Semenzato, Benvenuti, Conversion M Bergamasco.
Scotland: R Lamont (Toulon); M Evans (Castres), N De Luca (Edinburgh), G Morrison (Glasgow), S Danielli (Ulster); D Parks (Cardiff), M Blair (Edinburgh); A Dickinson (Sale), S Lawson (Gloucester), M Low (Glasgow), N Hines (Clermont Auvergne), A Kellock (Glasgow, capt), K Brown (Saracens), R Vernon (Sale), J Barclay (Glasgow). Replacements: E Murray (Newcastle) for Low, 54; N Walker (Ospreys) for Danielli, 55; C Cusiter (Glasgow) for Blair, 61; R Gray (Glasgow) for Hines, 61; R Jackson (Glasgow) for Parks, 61; D Hall (Glasgow) for Lawson, 70; R Rennie (Edinburgh) for Vernon, 74.
Italy: A Masi (Aironi); T Benvenuti (Treviso), G Canale (Clermont), G Garcia (Treviso), M Bergamasco (Racing Metro); L Orquera (Aironi), F Semenzato (Treviso); A Lo Cicero (Racing), F Ongaro (Treviso), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester), C Del Fava (Aironi), C van Zyl, P Derbyshire (both Treviso), S Parisse (Stade Français, capt), R Barbieri (Treviso).
Replacements: T D'Apice (Aironi) for Ongaro, 40; J Furno (Aironi) for Del Fava, 51; R Bocchino (Cavalieri Prato) for Orquera, 56; A Zanni (Treviso) for Derbyshire, 62; L Cittadini (Treviso) for Lo Cicero, 71; E Gori (Treviso) for Canale, 76.
Referee D Pearson (England).Reuse content