Sunday 21 December 2014

Scots buoyed by Italian rout

Gavin McCafferty

Published 10/02/2013 | 04:00

Scott Johnson declared Scotland were right back in the Six Nations running after their four-try victory over Italy – but warned his side still have much to improve.

ITALY 10

Scott Johnson declared Scotland were right back in the Six Nations running after their four-try victory over Italy – but warned his side still have much to improve.

Tim Visser notched his fifth try in seven internationals as Scotland controlled the first half without ever looking in danger.

And they wrapped the game up within six minutes of the restart as Matt Scott crossed for his first international try and Stuart Hogg ran almost the full length of the field to score after intercepting a pass, with Italy set for a walk-in score.

Sean Lamont also got a breakaway try before Alessandro Zanni's late consolation helped the Italians into double figures.

Interim head coach Johnson said: "We are really happy with the scoreboard, and who wouldn't be? But we are in a championship and we want to win the championship.

"Whilst there were some really good things in that game and much improvement in areas we needed to improve in, there is still plenty left out on that pitch.

"We just have to keep doing our work. We have to keep improving. We're in a tournament and today's result puts us right in it. We're in this."

Johnson had been bitterly disappointed with his side's physicality and defence in their 38-18 defeat at Twickenham and told his players in some frank team meetings.

And a tackle count of 146 with a 92pc success rate showed they had responded well during spells of Italian pressure in the second half.

Italy coach Jacques Brunel was disappointed with his side's defending, but brushed aside claims he had taken too many risks with his tactics.

"I think that's the price we pay to keep on growing," he said. "Today we certainly paid a high price.

"We played in such an individual way, now we have two weeks to try to understand and come back for the Wales game."

Scorers – Scotland: T Visser, M Scott, S Hogg, S Lamont try each; G Laidlaw 4 cons, 2 pens. Italy: A Zanni try; K Burton con; L Orquera pen

Scotland: S Hogg (M Evans 71); S Maitland, S Lamont, M Scott, T Visser; R Jackson, G Laidlaw (H Pyrgos 75); R Grant (M Low 59), R Ford, E Murray (G Cross 70), R Gray, J Hamilton (A Kellock 66), R Harley, K Brown (capt, D Denton 70), J Beattie (Montpellier).

Italy: A Masi; G Venditti, T Benvenuti, G Canale, L McLean; L Orquera (E Gori 47), T Botes (K Burton 47); A Lo Cicero (A De Marchi 59), L Ghiraldini (A Pavanello 59), M Castrogiovanni (L Cittadini 63), Q Geldenhuys (D Giazzon 59), F Minto, A Zanni, S Favaro (P Derbyshire 67), S Parisse (capt).

Referee: J Peyper (South Africa)

Irish Independent

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