Scotland brush Italy aside in World Cup warm up

Scotland earned a second Rugby World Cup warm up victory in as many weeks by
beating Italy 48-7 at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.

The match is the second between the two teams and Scotland beat Italy 16-12
in last week’s fixture.

Scotland are pooled with South Africa, Samoa, Japan and the USA in the Rugby
World Cup and the fixture in Newcastle between South Africa and Scotland is
shaping up to the pool decider.

Scotland wings Sean Lamont and Tim Visser each plundered two tries as Vern
Cotter’s side coasted to the record win over Italy at Murrayfield

The rout surpassed both the points score and margin of victory Scotland achieved
in a 47-15 home win over Italy in a warm-up match prior to the 2003 World Cup.

Flanker John Barclay, starting his first international for two years, and centre
Mark Bennett also crossed the Italian try-line for the Scots, who followed up
their 16-12 win against a shadow Italian side in Turin last week with a highly
impressive step-up in performance.

The 43,831 crowd, a record for a World Cup warm-up match at Murrayfield, saw
the home side take control from the start, captain Greig Laidlaw getting the
scoreboard ticking with a fifth-minute penalty that followed a series of scrum
infringements by the visitors.

Four minutes later, Scotland fly-half Finn Russell chipped a neat kick into
the right corner and Lamont plucked the ball out of the air to score his 13th
international try.

Laidlaw’s conversion made it 10-0 with ten minutes gone and Scotland proceeded
to dominate the first half.

South African-born Willem Nel, making his first start at tighthead prop after
qualifying for Scotland on residential grounds, gave Matias Aguero, Italy’s
loosehead, a torrid time in the scrums and Russell orchestrated the backs with
impressive precision.

The pressure told as Laidlaw landed two further penalties, stretching the lead
to 16-0. Only then did Italy show their attacking teeth, scoring with their
first serious offensive assault in the 30th minute.

Newcastle lock Josh Furno launched a line-out drive in the left corner and
Tommaso Allan, Italy’s former Scotland Under-20 fly-half, despatched a garryowen
that was fumbled by both Laidlaw and Visser, allowing outside centre Michele
Campagnaro to score.

Allan converted, reducing Scotland’s lead to 16-7, but in the final minute
of the first half, Italy had openside flanker Francesco Minto yellow-carded
for bringing down a maul.

From the forward drive that followed, Barclay squeezed over the line for a
try that Laidlaw converted.

Leading 23-7 at the break, Scotland pressed home their superiority eight minutes
into the second half.

Russell looped a long pass into the left corner and Dutch-born Visser bagged
his eighth international try.

Laidlaw steered his conversion attempt wide but the Gloucester scrum-half nailed
a fourth penalty in the 56th minute and six minutes after that Scotland were
36-7 ahead, Lamont snaffling a stray pass to score an interception try on the

Italy were then reduced to 14 men again, replacement prop Michele Rizzo being
sent to the sin-bin after aiming a kick towards the head of Scotland substitute
prop Gordon Reid in the 69th minute

It got worse for Jacques Brunel’s side in the final eight minutes, Visser and
Bennett both running in interception tries from long range.

Scotland complete their warm-up campaign away to France in Paris a week on
Saturday, when Italy face Wales in Cardiff.

Scotland play another warm up next week in France while Italy travel to Cardiff to play Wales.

Final Score Scotland 48 (23) Italy 7 (7)


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