By Katie Field, Rugby World writer
In a nutshell
One look at this match told you it was a Wooden Spoon decider. The first half was woeful, with barely any decent rugby played and far too many long lectures from referee Alain Rolland. The entertainment value improved a little after the break but it was still an error-strewn affair, with most of the play taking place in the middle third. Italy were delighted to finish their RBS Six Nations with a win, but there was almost nothing for Scotland to be happy about.
They may have been unlucky to lose Jim Hamilton to the sin-bin, but Nick de Luca’s yellow card was as fair as it was foolish and his team-mates were equally as inept in a variety of ways. Scotland were simply never at the races and must go away and contemplate their first Six Nations whitewash since 2004.
The score was 3-3 at the start of the second half and Italy had a man advantage as De Luca had been sin-binned at the end of the first half. The Azzurri took advantage, creating a nice try for Giovambattista Venditti, which Kris Burton converted, and were in the driving seat at 10-3 up.
Martin Castrogiovanni was named RBS Man of the Match. Marco Bortolami had a massive game in the lineout and edges Castro, in my view.
Room for improvement
Scotland were strangely subdued throughout and looked clueless at times. Their lineout mis-fired for the second week in a row and they didn’t have the tactical nous to up the pace and threaten when Italy were down to 14 men in the second half. They turned over too much ball in contact, which no team can afford to do when they are struggling to win first phase possession.
In quotes – the winners
Italy coach Jaques Brunel: “This win is very important because it marks a start. We have dominated Scotland as no one else has done in this tournament. I am very pleased.”
In quotes – the losers
Scotland coach Andy Robinson on his future, now Scotland have lost 12 out of their 15 Six Nations matches on his watch: “I’m still contracted until 2015. I’m going away to reflect on the Six Nations and reflect on the future, in terms of the positivity that we have, the players we have and the way forward. There is not a set time scale on that. There’s a lot to take in in terms of what’s happened and it’s about looking at the future and what’s best for the future. Now’s not the time to be discussing that, with the feelings that everybody has.”
Scotland lost six of their 12 lineouts and made only 86 passes, compared to Italy’s 167.
ITALY: Andrea Masi; Giovambattista Venditti, Tommaso Benvenuti, Gonzalo Canale (Giulio Toniolatti 68), Mirco Bergamasco; Kris Burton, Edoardo Gori (Tobias Botes 66, Simone Favaro 71); Andrea Lo Cicero (Lorenzo Cittadini 51), Fabio Ongaro (Tommaso D’Apice 56), Martin Castrogiovanni (Lo Cicero 66), Quintin Geldenhuys (Joshua Furno 75), Marco Bortolami, Alessandro Zanni, Robert Barbieri (Manoa Vosawai 56), Sergio Parisse (capt).
Try: Venditti. Con: Burton. Pen: Bergamasco. Drop-goal: Burton.
Sin-bin: Alessandro Zanni 65 min.
SCOTLAND: Stuart Hogg; Max Evans, Nick De Luca, Graeme Morrison, Sean Lamont; Greig Laidlaw (Ruaridh Jackson 69), Mike Blair; Jon Welsh, Ross Ford (capt), Geoff Cross (Euan Murray 49), Richie Gray (Alastair Kellock 54), Jim Hamilton, John Barclay (Richie Vernon 69), Ross Rennie, David Denton.
Pens: Laidlaw, 2.
Sin-bins: Nick de Luca 38 min, Jim Hamilton 55 min.
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland).