Roman conquerors: Italy hand Scotland 6 Nations wooden spoon

Italy 13 Scotland 6

Scotland suffered the ignominy an RBS 6 Nations whitewash and the wooden
spoon after Italy inflicted a seventh successive defeat on Andy
Robinson's side in Rome.

In what could be the final game for head coach Robinson, Scotland contributed significantly to their own downfall in an error-strewn display at the Stadio Olimpico as Nick De Luca and Jim Hamilton were sin-binned.

Mirco Bergamasco kicked a penalty, Giovanbattista Venditti crossed for a converted try in De Luca's absence and Kristopher Burton added a drop goal after 77 minutes as Italy triumphed.

Alessandro Zanni was shown a yellow card in the final quarter, but Scotland could not capitalise on their numerical advantage and their only points in an incoherent and indisciplined performance came through two Greig Laidlaw penalties.

Robinson is contracted until the 2015 World Cup but may believe he has taken Scotland as far as possible following two wins in 15 Six Nations matches - each coming on the final weekend of the championship in the past two years - and the worst sequence of results since 1998.

There were few positives the former Bath and England boss could grasp at as his side remained without a victory since the September 14 defeat of Georgia at a World Cup Scotland exited from the group stages for the first time.

Scotland and Italy have been perennial rivals to avoid the wooden spoon and if ever there was an advert for relegation from the Six Nations - with World Cup sides Georgia, Russia and Romania among those vying for inclusion - this was it.

Robinson kept faith with the players who had featured in the four previous losses and made two enforced changes following the 32-14 defeat to Ireland - the second after an injury in the warm-up for the second straight week. De Luca, a late withdrawal in Dublin, returned at centre for the concussed Lee Jones, with loosehead prop Allan Jacobsen missing out on his 65th cap after suffering an injury in the moments before kick-off.

Glasgow Warriors' Jon Welsh made his debut in place of Scotland's most-capped prop and against revered Leicester tighthead Martin Castrogiovanni, who was one of seven changes for the Azzurri and finished as man of the match.

Italy opened with purpose, spreading the ball wide, but Scotland began nervously with numerous errors and the concession of penalties.

Castrogiovanni, returning from a rib injury, set to work on Welsh early on, helping Italy establish forward momentum and Bergamasco kicked a penalty after lock Hamilton strayed offside.

The Italy wing missed a more straightforward attempt at goal after David Denton was isolated breaking off a scrum and held on to concede a penalty, which was marched 10 metres further forward by referee Alain Rolland after dissent from the Scots.

John Barclay foiled a Burton drop-goal attempt before, after 35 minutes, Scotland made forward progress.

Scotland's scrum advanced from halfway and the hosts crumbled, with Laidlaw kicking the visitors level from just inside the Italy half.

A Richie Gray knock-on at the restart immediately handed Italy possession and De Luca was sin-binned for kicking the ball out of scrum-half Edoardo Gori's hand.

Scotland, though, were handed a reprieve as Bergamasco again failed to strike his kick cleanly.

The hosts spread the ball right and left looking for an opening early in the second period and Venditti found one, bursting through a Stuart Hogg tackle to touch down with Burton converting.

Laidlaw was off-target with a Scotland penalty from the touchline after Italy turned the ball over at the restart and De Luca returned after seven points were conceded in his absence.

Tighthead Euan Murray was introduced for Geoff Cross and Gray made way for Alastair Kellock, but as soon as the former captain was introduced, Hamilton was sent to the sin-bin for an indiscretion at the line-out.

Kellock was pulled down by Zanni at a line-out, allowing Laidlaw to cut the deficit to four points with 20 minutes remaining.

As Hamilton returned, he swapped places with flanker Zanni, who was shown a yellow card for going off his feet at the ruck.

Robinson made a late change in an effort to turn the momentum in Scotland's favour, introducing Ruaridh Jackson for Laidlaw.

But fly-half Jackson could only watch as Scotland's struggles continued and Burton kicked the hosts seven points ahead with three minutes remaining.

Scotland required a converted try to salvage a draw but again lost possession to allow Italy to see out the final seconds and celebrate their first win at the Stadio Olimpico.

PA

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United 1 player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot