Scotland wins Rome arm-wrestle
SIX NATIONS MATCH REPORT: Scotland got their first win of the tournament on Saturday, with a 17-0 win over Italy in Rome.
A brilliant solo effort from captain Stuart Hogg earned Scotland their first try of the tournament after 22 minutes in the Stadio Olimpico with Chris Harris and Adam Hastings adding two more in the second half.
Italy fell to a 25th consecutive defeat in the tournament and are set to take the wooden spoon for the 15th time.
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Hastings converted his own try to make up for having missed a penalty and an earlier conversion, while Tommaso Allan messed up a penalty opportunity which would have put Italy on the scoreboard.
Both teams had been chasing their first win of the 2020 tournament after two defeats apiece, with Italy also suffering a 42-0 thrashing against holders Wales.
In a nervy start the Scots piled on the pressure early in sunny conditions in Rome, after their rain and windswept 13-6 defeat to England last time out, following a 24-14 defeat to Ireland.
Gregor Townsend’s side were pushed hard by the Italians who had been in the game until Federico Zani was sin-binned with ten minutes to go.
Hastings sent a penalty kick wide after eight minutes as the Italians looked dangerous with a Matteo Bellini counter-attack, off-loading to Jayden Hayward before Scotland reacted and sent Braam Steyn into touch.
But Hogg made up for his errors which contributed to the Scots’ opening two defeats against Ireland and England.
The Exeter Chiefs fullback broke through with a brilliant solo run down the right wing.
Ali Price thought he had scored a second after half an hour with Hamish Watson racing through the Italian defence. The try was ruled out after a review showed Sam Johnson’s final pass was forward.
Allan missed a chance to reduce the deficit before the break sending a penalty against the post.
Scotland’s pressure on the line paid off after the break with Harris powering over.
Italy replacement hooker Zani was yellow-carded for upending Grant Gilchrist at a ruck with 10 minutes to go.
And after a scrappy finale Hastings picked up the ball and raced unchallenged to a third try, to condemn Franco Smith to a humiliating defeat on his first game as coach in the Stadio Olimpico.
The Italians are without a win in the tournament since beating Scotland at Murrayfield in 2015, and are winless in the Stadio Olimpico for the past seven years.
Italy next travel to Ireland before hosting England in their final game which should be the international farewell for Italy legend Sergio Parisse.
Scotland next host France in Murrayfield before travelling to Wales for their final game.
Tries: Hogg, Harris, Hastings
Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Matteo Minozzi, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Abraham Steyn, 7 Sebastian Negri, 6 Jake Polledri, 5 Niccolò Cannone, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Giosuè Zilocchi, 2 Luca Bigi (captain), 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Marco Lazzaroni, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Giovanni Licata, 22 Guglielmo Palazzani, 23 Giulio Bisegni
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Blair Kinghorn, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Byron McGuigan.
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)