Scots end drought as Italy hit rock bottom
Scotland 21 Italy 8: De Luca and Walker turn things round to bring some cheer to Murrayfield
Sunday 20 March 2011
Typical. You wait 11 hours and 54 minutes for a Scottish try at Murrayfield and then two arrive in eight minutes.
Six minutes into the second half of this wooden spoon decider, Scotland were trailing 8-6, without a try at home since Graeme Morrison touched down against Fiji in November 2009. Then, from a ruck in the left corner, Nathan Hines fed the ball to Nick De Luca and the replacement scored his first try in 24 caps.
Eight minutes later, Nikki Walker followed suit and Italy were left bottom of the Six Nations pile. Whether Nick Mallett can hold on to his job as head coach remains to be seen.
For Andy Robinson there was a first Six Nations win at Murrayfield. "I was delighted with the two tries and the composure shown by the squad," he said. "We've got our just rewards for our endeavour to move our game forward."
It was a success built on a solid platform, with the 6ft 9in Richie Gray producing another towering display in the line-out. It started promisingly, Chris Paterson kicking a penalty, but then Walker barely managed to lay a hand on Andrea Masi as the Italian full-back cut a scoring line to the left corner.
A second Paterson penalty pushed Scotland back in front, 6-5, but then the lively centre Joe Ansbro left on a medical cart. Mirco Bergamasco then kicked a penalty for 8-6.
Four minutes into the second half, Sean Lamont hacked a loose ball upfield for a straight race with Italy's hooker. Staggeringly, the wing-turned-centre lost it, Leonardo Ghiraldini flopping down on the ball. Still, Scotland were on the attack and De Luca – on for Ansbro – went over.
Paterson's conversion whistled wide but eight minutes later he was lining up another after Walker went through Luke McLean to score. This time he was successful and he kicked another penalty before producing a try-saving tackle on McLean .
Scotland C Paterson; N Walker, J Ansbro (N De Luca, 19), S Lamont (D Parks, 78), S Danielli; R Jackson, R Lawson; A Jacobsen, R Ford (S Lawson, 64), G Cross (E Murray, 64), R Gray, A Kellock (capt), N Hines (A Strokosch, 54), J Barclay, K Brown (R Vernon, 74).
Italy A Masi (L McLean, 32); T Benvenuti, G Canale, A Sgarbi (P Canavosio, 70), Mirco Bergamasco; K Burton (L Orquera 59), F Semenzato; S Perugini (A Lo Cicero, 59), L Ghiraldini (C Festuccia, 78), M Catsrogiovanni, C Del Fava (V Bernabo 54), Q Geldenhuys, A Zanni, P Derbyshire (R Barbieri, 59), S Parisse (capt).
Referee S Walsh (Australia).
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