Six Nations: Scotland crush Italy in Murrayfield romp
Scotland put last weekend's Twickenham humiliation behind them as they roared to a 34-10 victory over Italy.
Last Updated: 10/02/13 10:20am
This game turned the form-book on its head as Italy came into the contest full of confidence after their opening day win over France.
But it was the Scots who dominated almost from the outset, winning the battle at the gainline and producing some sparkling attacking rugby - albeit against a distinctly flaky Italian defence.
Scotland almost grabbed the lead inside five minutes only for the bounce of the ball to deny Tim Visser from Greig Laidlaw's chip through.
They had to settle for a couple of Laidlaw penalties in the opening quarter, before scoring a deserved first try on 27 minutes.
Moments earlier only a last-gasp tackle from Tobias Botes prevented Matt Scott from scoring, before Ruaridh Jackson ducked through the defensive line and put Visser scooting in at the same corner, with Laidlaw converting for 13-0.
Luciano Orquera's penalty got Italy on the board in the final minute of the half, but it was Scotland who roared out after the break.
Two minutes in from a set lineout move, Sean Maitland put Matt Scott streaking through from the 22 and Laidlaw converted.
Four minutes later there was a 14-point swing which effectively settled the game. After Italy's best move of the match, Orquera was about to put Tommaso Benvenuti in for a seven pointer, but Stuart Hogg read the pass, intercepted it and raced 80 metres to score beneath the posts.
Maitland put Scott in at the corner but the pass was ruled forward, before on 68 minutes Sean Lamont surged through a hole in a ruck in midfield, hacked on, picked up and raced 40 metres to score.
Italy at least managed the last word as Alessandro Zanni crashed over from a five-metre scrum move but there was no hint of a celebration as a week proved to be a very long time in Six Nations rugby.
For Scotland the delight and relief was quite understandable - they had lost four of their previous six games against Italy and did not win one of their five games at Murrayfield in 2012. The corner may finally have been turned.