x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Six Nations: Scotland 34 Italy 10

Italy failed to capitalise on their victory over France after a dominant performance by the Scots at Murrayfield.

Scotland's Greig Laidlaw boots the ball from the scrum during the Six Nations match against Italy at Murrayfield.
Scotland's Greig Laidlaw boots the ball from the scrum during the Six Nations match against Italy at Murrayfield.

Greig Laidlaw collected his man-of-the match award and immediately heaped praise on Scotland's forwards after their 34-10 victory over Italy.

The scrum-half also said the win was for the fans at Murrayfield who had been through "tough times" following the team.

"Absolutely brilliant," Laidlaw told the BBC. "There have been tough times for fans - this one's for them.

"We had to do the dirty work. I'm fortunate enough to pick up the man of the match but that's because the forwards did their job."

Italy came to Edinburgh on a high following victory over France and were looking for their fifth victory in seven Six Nations encounters with the Scots.

Last weekend's results had made Scotland favourites for a second consecutive wooden spoon but the hosts dominated.

"I've picked up the man-of-the-match award, but credit to all of the boys," added Laidlaw.

"The line speed was there, we stifled Italy and that put us on the front foot. We're not getting carried away though. We hope we can build on this in two weeks' time against Ireland."

Leading 13-3 at half time, the Scots ran in four opportunistic tries from Tim Visser, Matt Scott Stuart Hogg and Sean Lamont, with Laidlaw supplying the rest of the points from the boot to rebound from their drubbing at the hands of England at Twickenham last week.

Alessandro Zanni battled over for a late consolation Italy try, converted by Kris Burton.

Scott Johnson, Scotland's interim coach, said: "I liked our intent. I think straight from the start we were aggressive.

"We had our chances and we scored off them.

"But that all means nothing if we cannot come here in two weeks and do it again [against Ireland]. Greig Laidlaw is a wonderful lad but a wonderful technician. He knows he is not the most gifted athlete but he's so much quicker with the ball - his mind works faster than opposing players."

In front of a full-house, Stuart Hogg's 90-metre sprint was the highlight of the four-try display. Hogg's solo counterattack followed Visser's fifth try in seven internationals and Matt Scott's first.

Lamont claimed another breakaway and Laidlaw produced a perfect kicking display before Zanni got a late consolation try.

The players who performed poorly in London emphatically made amends as Scotland took control of the game from the start and kept Italy out of their 22 for virtually the whole first half.

Scotland had the game wrapped up with two more tries within six minutes of the restart and produced a strong defensive display to keep out Italy for most of the second half despite the visitors dominating possession.


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