Scotland 33-20 Italy: Blair Kinghorn scores hat-trick as Scotland secure bonus-point win
By Brian Barry
Last Updated: 02/02/19 4:35pm
Blair Kinghorn's hat-trick ensured Scotland made a winning start to the Six Nations with a 33-20 bonus-point victory over Italy at Murrayfield.
Tommaso Allan's penalty gave Italy an early lead but two tries from Kinghorn and a conversion from Greig Laidlaw gave the hosts a 12-3 half-time lead.
Stuart Hogg and Chris Harris touched down either side of Kinghorn's hat-trick score to increase Scotland's advantage after the break, before three late consolation tries from Italy added some respectability to the scoreline.
Scotland looked to make an early statement in the opening exchanges, and seemed to be off to the perfect start when Grant Gilchrist crossed the line, but the second row was judged to have performed a double movement.
Allan's early penalty did give Italy a 3-0 lead against the run of play, but that was as good as it got for the Azzurri in the first half.
Scotland immediately worked their way back up the field, and Finn Russell's cross-field kick fell beautifully into the arms of Kinghorn to run into the corner and touch down. Laidlaw missed the conversion, but the captain made amends when Kinghorn crossed for a second try on the 20-minute mark.
Resolute Italian defending prevented Scotland from adding to their 12-3 lead before the break, as Conor O'Shea's side went into the dressing room with a glimmer of hope.
But Scotland were eager to take care of business, and did just that as Hogg applied downward pressure on Russell's kick-through. The Lions full-back only made contact with the ball for a split second, but that was all that was needed as the TMO was satisfied that it was a legitimate try.
Kinghorn's third score gave Scotland the bonus point, while substitute Harris scored his first try for Scotland to extend the lead to 33-3.
With the match over as a contest, Italy could have folded in the final quarter. However, to their credit, they battled to the end and offered themselves hope ahead of Wales' visit to Rome next week.
With Simon Berghan sent to the sin bin for Scotland, Guglielmo Palazzani crossed for Italy's first try. The visitors then found two more tries through Edoardo Padovani and Angelo Esposito to reduce the score to 33-20.
Gregor Townsend's side host Ireland at Murrayfield next Saturday.