Scots pair rue Azzurri loss
Allister Hogg and Graeme Morrison admitted they had let Italy off the hook as their final RBS Six Nations ended with a 23-20 defeat.
Last Updated: 17/03/08 11:12am
Scotland pair Allister Hogg and Graeme Morrison admitted they had let Italy off the hook as their final RBS Six Nations ended with a 23-20 defeat in Rome.
The Scots bossed the majority of the first half and took a deserved 17-10 lead going into the interval courtesy of tries from Hogg and Mike Blair during a free-flowing 20-minute spell.
However, Frank Hadden's men failed to string together any attacking moves of note after the break, and the Azzurri capitalised when captain Sergio Parisse turned the game on its head when he intercepted a Dan Parks pass well inside his own half.
The No.8 broke forward and set-up Gonzalo Canale to level the scores. The hosts seized the initiative from then on, and Andrea Marcato's last-minute drop-goal earned the Italians their first win of the tournament.
Scotland did avoid the wooden spoon for the second consecutive year, however that came as scant consolation for Hogg who admitted his frustration that the 2008 Six Nations campaign ended with defeat.
"We played some good stuff," he said. "We attacked probably the best we had in the championship but they lived off our mistakes.
"The intercept try was like a 14-point swing because Smithy (Craig Smith) had made a great run up the middle and we tried to spread it wide and thought we were in.
"We felt we were in control, I thought we had a lot of territory and were pushing, we just couldn't convert it into points and couldn't get that one score more, that eight points ahead.
"I think that was the big thing, Italy were always in it and getting the intercept try just gave them a massive lift and they kicked on from that.
"We didn't start well but to be 17-10 up at half-time was great. We thought we deserved that.
"But fair play to Italy, they stuck in there and they never gave up and managed to sneak it in the end."
Glasgow centre Morrison was instrumental in Scotland's first-half performance, and he too admitted his side's overall play had been undermined by mistakes.
"Having just come in last week I've not had to suffer like some of the boys have," he said.
"In general terms we have made progress from that first game. We won last week and had bonuses here.
"The result tells a different story but we have made some progress.
"The boys put in an unbelievable amount of effort, we played most of the rugby.
"Unfortunately the errors kept them in it and when it comes to the end, anything can happen."