Stuart Hogg’s side with a record 52-10 victory over the Azzurri
Scotland secure bonus point in 28 minutes against Italy
It took Scotland just 28 minutes to score four tries and secure the bonus point against Italy – quicker than any other country has managed in the 2021 championship.
France and England both got their fourth try against the Azzurri after 49 minutes while Ireland took 42 minutes. When Ken Owens touched down for his second and Wales’ fourth last weekend, the clock was on 29 minutes.
Scotland shaved a few seconds off that with Huw Jones going over the line for the hosts’ fourth try at BT Murrayfield in the 28th minute. Then they added another four tries in the second period.
It was Italy, however, who got the first try of the game. Paolo Garbisi gave the visitors the perfect lineout position to attack from five metres out after kicking a penalty to touch and from the ensuing maul captain Luca Bigi broke off to score in the corner after just six minutes.
Fellow hooker David Cherry followed Bigi’s lead four minutes later as Scotland put their driving maul into action close to Italy’s line. It’s the first time in the Six Nations that both starting hookers have scored a try in the same match.
Then Scotland’s backs got in on the action. Huw Jones broke from his own 22 to the Italian half, then the ball was recycled, spread wide and Duhan van der Merwe broke down the wing to get over the try-line.
Federico Mori was then shown a yellow card for a late charge on Sam Johnson midway through the half and Scotland scored two tries while he was in the sin-bin.
First Sean Maitland and Jones combined in the Italian 22 to send Darcy Graham over.
Then Jones scored himself after another van der Merwe run and neat pass from Stuart Hogg.
It took Scotland 18 first-half minutes to score four tries and secure the bonus point, and they extended their 24-10 lead in the second period.
Italy’s ill-discipline didn’t help their cause as two more players were sent to the sin-bin after the break – any team would struggle with being a man down for half an hour.
Scotland’s fifth try came against a full complement of Italian players, Cherry getting his second from another driving maul in the 44th minute.
Sebastian Negri was yellow-carded in the 52nd minute for a deliberate knock-on as Scotland pressured the Italian line and it didn’t take long for the hosts to take advantage.
From a five-metre scrum, Scott Steele passed to Johnson on a hard line. The centre was brought down close to the posts, Steele collected the ball and twisted over to touch down himself.
Then as the clock ticked past the hour mark, Monty Ioane was sent to the sin-bin for a tip tackle on Hogg – the fact the Scotland skipper landed on his back saving the Italy winger from a red card.
Two tries followed for Scotland – Johnson powering over from close range and then van der Merwe crossing for his second of the afternoon.
That eighth try was created by Ali Price, the replacement scrum-half dummying his way out of Scotland’s own 22 to break to halfway and then passing over the top to van der Merwe, who sprinted into open space.
Another heavy defeat means this is Italy’s worst Six Nations in terms of points conceded. Throughout their 2021 campaign they leaked 239 points in total, whereas their previous highest tally in that column was 228 in their first season in 2000.
So Italy’s wait for a Six Nations victory goes on – they haven’t won in the championship since 2015 – while Scotland will head into Friday night’s finale against France with confidence.
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