Italy down Scotland in Six Nations

Italy ended their two-year wait for a Six Nations victory with a hard fought 16-12 victory over Scotland at the Stadio Flaminio on Saturday.

They thus ended a seven-match losing run in the competition dating back to their 23-20 victory over the same opponents in the last match of the 2008 season.

For Scotland it was a ninth straight defeat away from home in the Six Nations and no less than they deserved in a disjointed and stuttering display.

But the Italians showed great spirit and scored a wonderful try by replacement scrum-half Pablo Canavosio – their first in this year’s tournament created by their own play – to boost their chances of avoiding the wooden spoon for the third year in a row.

Italy’s former captain Marco Bortolami – who was impressive in the second row – was ecstatic at following up a tight affair against England a fortnight ago (17-12) with victory here.

“This is a massive win,” said the 29-year-old Gloucester lock.

“Every time we fight against better teams like we did against England and last time we were very close to them.

“Today (Saturday) we showed that we can beat anybody. Our defence was hugely influential in the win. We really fought for it and this has been a huge victory.”

Scotland’s Dan Parks – who was named man of the match for the second time in a row having picked up the award in the even more traumatic 31-24 loss to Wales a fortnight ago – was perplexed at suffering yet another defeat.

“I just don’t know what to say,” said the 31-year-old Australian fly-half.

“This defeat is less hard to take than the Welsh one (Scotland led Wales 24-14 with a few minutes remaining).

“Overall it is very disappointing. We had scrums on the line and we had a lineout on their line and while other teams have been scoring from opportunities like those we were incapable of doing so.”

The first half was a largely forgettable affair that finished all square at two penalties apiece.

Mirko Bergamasco put the hosts ahead on 10 minutes with a penalty from inside the 22 after Scotland were penalised for offside and four minutes later he doubled the lead with another penalty from an almost identical position.

Scotland were slow to get a foothold in the game but once Parks’s right boot started to function, the visitors wrestled their way back into the game.

Parks brought the score to 6-3 with a penalty from inside the 22 to the right of the posts after John Barclay made a break from a stolen Italy line-out.

Parks levelled the scored with another penalty, from the left this time, before Italy’s failing line-out put them in trouble again.

Captain and hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini threw the ball over all his own players’ heads from inside his own 22 and Barclay made another break but Scotland were held up two yards from the line.

Italy probably welcomed the half-time whistle and the break did them some good as Bergamasco kicked them back into a three point lead three minutes after the restart.

Scotland came straight back and went left and then right with prop Allan Jacobsen burrowing over the line but being held up.

However moments later Parks hit a drop goal from under the posts and it was all square again.

Parks put the Scots ahead in the 65th minute kicked the visitors into a 12-9 lead.

But suddenly, out of nothing, Italy struck.

Gonzalo Canale made a brilliant slaloming, scything break through the midfield and then offloaded in the tackle to Canavosio who cut in from the left and found a channel that arrived under the posts for his fifth try in 28 tests, with Bergamasco converting for a 16-12 lead.

Scotland came charging back and for the second time Jacobsen burrowed over the line but was once again denied a try by the video referee because it was impossible to see the ball.

Final Score Italy 16 (6) S

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