Scotland vs Italy, Sat, 02/02/2019 - 14:15

33 - 20
Full time
Saturday, 2 February, 2019 - 14:15 | BT Murrayfield

Scotland ran in five tries to begin their GUINNESS 2019 Six Nations Championship campaign with a victory over Italy.

It was only the third time since the championship became a contest between six nations in 2000 that Scotland had won their opening fixture – 2006 and 2017 were the previous entries in that ledger.

There will be concern that Italy plundered three tries when Scotland were short-handed in the closing stages with Simon Berghan in the sin-bin but there will also be pleasure at the creativity allied to hard work that created openings which Scotland had exploited earlier, with two further scores ruled out by the match officials.

The match saw three new caps added to Scotland’s list: Sam Johnson (1100) was later joined from the bench by Jake Kerr (1101) and Gary Graham (1102).

Italy had made a late change with scrum-half Tito Tebaldi absent due to a lower back strain.  Guglielmo Palazzani was promoted from the bench and winger Tomasso Benvenutti was now wearing 21. 

The teams were presented to Scottish Rugby’s patron, The Princess Royal, before kick-off on an oasis of green amidst the white of a Scottish winter. 

And it was Italy, with a new centurion in their ranks in Ghiraldini, who got the Championship underway at BT Murrayfield attacking the south end of the ground.

Ryan Wilson pouched the kick-off, Finn Russell kicked on from his first Garryowen and Johnson had a promising first thrust on his debut before Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg in unison up the West Stand touchline forced Italy to concede a five-metre lineout.

From there Scotland’s rolling maul purred but Grant Gilchrist’s “try” was ruled out through a double movement.

Off lineout ball, Palazzani miscuing a clearance straight to touch, Scotland engineered an opening for Blair Kinghorn intruding off the left wing, but despite maintaining their patience, a penalty gave Italy some respite.

At the other end, Jamie Ritchie was penalised for a tackle on Sergio Parisse and after such a breathless opening, it was a penalty from Tomasso Allan that provided the game’s first points (0-3, 9 mins)

It took Scotland two minutes to strike back. A turnover with Laidlaw and Gilchrist doing grand work saw Russell fire the sweetest of cross-field kicks, which Blair Kinghorn took on the full and then stormed in for his fourth try for Scotland. Laidlaw missed the conversion. (5-3, 11 mins).

Scotland lost Sam Skinner to an ankle injury after that score, replaced by Josh Strauss.

Scotland continued to press and from a knock-on by Castello, scrum ball, Scotland threatened to go blindside before Laidlaw went open Russell looped Johnson and Hogg blazed into the line.  His pass to Kinghorn was a trundler but the 22-year-old gathered and sailed in for his second try.  Laidlaw nailed the conversion (12-3, 21 mins)

Scotland were largely dominating territory – the TV graphic showed 79% of the game had been played in the Italian half to date – but some handling errors and the scourge of reset scrums quelled any momentum over the next ten minutes. 

A touch-finder from Jayden Hayward gave Italy a rare visit to Scotland’s 22 as Tomasso Allan returned from an HIA but the alertness of Tommy Seymour in defence saw Scotland win a penalty and play out the remainder of the half in the ascendancy.

Half-time: Scotland 12 Italy 3.

Hogg showed some serious gas as Scotland opened the second half on the attack but a knock on and then a TMO intervention, which inspired a protracted dissection on a Stuart McInally wipe-out, saw Italy advance to the Scotland half via a penalty.

You sensed something had to give and from a Tommy Seymour burst up the middle, Scotland went through a patient build-up before Russell pulled the trigger with a stabbed kick-ahead which Hogg got a fingertip to for his 19thtry for Scotland, once again drawing level with Tommy Seymour in the all-time Scotland list in third place.  Laidlaw converted a historic score by his fellow Borderer: it was Scotland’s 500thtry at BT Murrayfield. (19-3, 46 mins).

If the 12thsuccessive BT Murrayfield capacity crowd enjoyed that score, they were further buoyed by the bonus point try which arrived eight minutes later.

Russell did well to retrieve a pass in the build-up and then Ritchie cut a sublime line, Laidlaw linked and Kinghorn with a combination of pace, balance and sleight of hand, evaded two tackles to cross for his hat-trick. It was Scotland’s first in the championship since Iwan Tukalo’s against Ireland in 1989. Laidlaw converted (26-3, 54 mins).

Hogg then seized on a mis-match to blaze into the Italian 22.  Ben Toolis romped on, the half-backs linked from the ruck and Strauss sent substitute Chris Harris over for try number five and his first for Scotland. Russell converted (33-3, 62 mins).

Simon Berghan was sent to the sin-bin for bringing down an Italian maul illegally and Italy at last made it over the whitewash through Palazzani. Allan converted. (33-10, 71 mins).

Hogg showed some exquisite skill and looked as if he was in for try number six but referee Pearce – amid more arm waving than the carabinieri on traffic duty in Rome, decided to bring it back for a penalty to Italy, deeming obstruction from Ali Price – not a popular decision with the Scotland fans around BT Murrayfield.

Benvenutti put Padovani in for Italy’s second try with five minutes remaining (33-15) and the late flurry continued as Campagnaro sent his fellow winger Esposito in for Italy’s third try (33-20).

Full-time: Scotland 33 Italy 20

Scotland: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson (all Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby); Finn Russell (Racing 92), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) CAPTAIN; Allan Dell, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist (all Edinburgh Rugby), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors).

Subs: Jake Kerr (Leicester Tigers) for McInally (63mins), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) for Dell (58 mins), Simon Berghan (Edinburgh Rugby) for Nel (50 mins), Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) for Wilson (71 mins), Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks) for Skinner (12 mins), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) for Laidlaw (58 mins), Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) for Russell (76 mins), Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) for Jones (58 mins).

Italy: Jayden Hayward; Angelo Esposito, Luca Morisi, Tommaso Castello, Michele Campagnaro; Tommaso Allan, Guglielmo Palazzani; Andrea Lovotti, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Simone Ferrari, David Sisi, Dean Budd, Sebastian Negri, Abraham Steyn, Sergio Parisse CAPTAIN.

Subs: Luca Bigi for Ghiraldini (60 mins), Cherif Traore for Lovotti (51 mins), Tiziano Pasquali for Ferrari (64 mins), Federico Ruzza for Budd (51 mins), Jimmy Tuivaiti for Negri (60 mins) Tomasso Benvenutti Ian McKinley for Allan (26-35 mins and then again in 72 mins) Edoardo Padovani for Castello (49 mins)

Referee: Luke Pearce (England).  Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France) and Shuhei Kubo (Japan).  TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland).

Team lineups



15 Jayden Hayward
14 Angelo Esposito
13 Luca Morisi
12 Tommaso Castello
11 Michele Campagnaro
10 Tommaso Allan
9 Tito Tebaldi


1 Andrea Lovotti
2 Leonardo Ghiraldhini
3 Simone Ferrari
4 David Sisi
5 Dean Budd
6 Sebastian Negri
7 Abraham Steyn
8 Sergio Parisse


16 Luca Bigi
17 Cherif Traore
18 Tiziano Pasquali
19 Federico Ruzza
20 Jimmy Tuivaiti
21 Guglielmo Palazzani
22 Ian McKinley
23 Edoardo Padovani
67 144
GUINNESS Man of the match: 
Blair Kinghorn (Scotland)

Six Nations 2019 latest results

Scotland 33 v 20 Italy