The flying full-back openned Scotland's try-scoring account in the 2020 Six Nations
Stuart Hogg scores scorching try in Rome sunshine
Scotland’s skipper banished the memories of handling errors from the last two rounds of the Six Nations after scoring a scorcher against Italy in Rome – and in the process he openned the Scots’ try-scoring account in this competition.
In a fairly stale 17-0 win for Scotland, in which the back-rows duked it out, Hogg’s searing run was one of very few highlights.
Getting the ball on halfway, the full-back dummied, ran an arc between two defenders and then burnt his opposite man, Jayden Hayward, to score in the right-hand corner. It was just the spark the first half of Italy v Scotland needed after a series of errors and penalties.
It was also notable that Hogg made a point of wraping his arms around the ball as he went over for the try.
The playmaker did the same thing in scoring a try for Exeter Chiefs last week. The act is a nod to two big handling errors he made in the previous two rounds of the Six Nations. The first was a dropped ball in the act of scoring against Ireland and the second was a mishandling of a badly bobbling ball against England that set up a scrum five metres out that eventually led to a vital England try.
The Scots left it late to chase the try bonus point, but had to make do with a first win, three scores and a clean sheet.
The match ended up with 32 turnovers coughed up by both sides, and there were 338 tackles. So while Scotland’s Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie had a field day at the breakdown – and Watson was named Man of The Match – but Italy were wasteful with several clean breaks, while the visitors were happy not to chance their arm through the second half.
In the first half, Scotland looked to have scored a fine second try, down the left-hand side, but an offload from Watson was shown to be forward and it was chalked off. And when they eventually got their second, in the second half, it was an exercise in patience. It came after 17 phases.
Chris Harris got his third score in a Scotland shirt but we had to wait until there was a minute left on the clock to see a third score.
On the other side of the ball, Scotland will be delighted to have kept a clean sheet.
Plenty of credit will be directed towards Scotland assistant coach Steve Tandy in the coming days, while the breakdown prowess of Scotland’s back-row forwards deserved plenty of plaudits.
After the match, skipper Hogg talked of pride in defence and shutting teams out and said modestly of his score: “It openned up a little bit and I scored in the corner.”
And on wrapping up the ball as he went over he added: “I wasn’t going to make a mess of that one, that’s for sure.”
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