Scots Fall At Final Hurdle

Looking to bounce back after their loss last weekend at Twickenham, Scotland Women couldn't turn pressure into points this afternoon at Meggetland with the Italians taking the honours, 0-26, in the sides' final Six Nations fixure.

Head coach Karen Findlay said: "I think the effort and the commitment on the back of the heavy defeat last weekend was visibe and we were still battling away right at the end.

"We need to get a lot smarter when we get into the opposition's 22 and finish off a job. We had a huge amount of territory today that we couldn't turn into points. That's the end of a hard season and we'll move on."


Scotland stand off, Tanya Griffith, breaks through the Italian defence

A packed stand cheered captain Susie Brown, celebrating her fiftieth cap, on to the Meggetland pitch followed by a Scotland side featuring eleven changes from last weekend's encounter with England at Twickenham.

After an initial early burst from the Italians, Scotland defended well. A penalty attempt from the Italians came up short and fired up the home side to take the advantage. Twenty minutes of fast paced end to end action culminated in another penalty for Italy, this time slotted successfully by full back Schiavon; 0-3.

Though the Scots spent more time in the Italian half, and following consistent tackling - especially from number 8, Lindsay Wheeler and full back, Katy Green - it was Italy who put the next points on the board with two more penalties in five minutes, again from Schiavon; 0-9

As half time approached, emotions on the pitch became heated resulting in Susie Brown leaving the pitch after a yellow card for high tackling, the resulting penalty for the visitors going wide. With Scotland down to 14, the Italians immediately took advantage of the situation when flanker Este saw the gap and charged through the defence to cross the line on the half-time whistle. Schiavon's conversion cleared the posts to put the visitors further ahead going into the break:

Half time: 0-16

With Brown still off the pitch, the visitors took further advantage of their strength in numbers and had barely taken to the pitch for the second half than they crossed the whitewash for the second time, the try from winger Furlan; 0-21.

As Scotland returned to full strength, they continued to harangue the Italian defence but couldn't turn pressure into points. A powerful break from Wheeler, followed by tenacious driving from prop Lockhart brought the Scots tantalisingly close to the Italian line once again but the Italians cleared the ball to safety.

With the clock ticking into the final quarter of the game, the home side made five substitutions in the space of as many minutes, the fresh legs helping maintain the scoreline until the seventy-first minute when Schiavon found her way to the scoring side of the corner flag. The attempted conversion of her own try fell short, however; 0-26.

The both sides feeling the pace of the encounter, emotions again were running high and this time it was the visitors who fell foul with lock Severin taking the walk to the sin bin, her yellow card for persistent hands in the ruck. With only three minutes to go, however, Scotland were unable to benefit from the extra player and score stood.

Full time: 0-26

Scotland Women v Italy Women, Sunday 20 March at Meggetland

Katy Green (Murrayfield Wanderers)
14 Annabel Sergeant (Dundee University)
13 Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
12 Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers)
11 Stephanie Johnstone (Hillhead/Jordanhill)

10 Tanya Griffith (RHC Cougars)
9 Louise Dalgleish (RHC Cougars)

1 Heather Lockhart (Hillhead/Jordanhill)
2 Alison Macdonald (RHC Cougars)
3 Tracy Balmer (Worcester)
4 Anna Swan (Edinburgh University)
5 Jemma Forsyth (Hillhead/Jordanhill)
6 Charlotte Veale (Wasps)
7 Susie Brown (Richmond) (captain)
8 Lindsay Wheeler (Darlington Mowden Sharks)

Lindsay Smith (Hillhead/Jordanhill) (on for Macdonald 63m)
17 Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers) (on for Balmer 67m)
18 Suzanne McKerlie-Hex (Kirkcaldy) (on for Lockhart 69m)
19 Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers) (on for Forsyth 63m)
20 Tess Forsberg (Richmond) (on for Veale 73m)
21 Lauren Harris (Aberdeenshire Quines) (on for Griffith 67m)
22 Lisa Ritchie (Carlisle) (unused)

Italy Women
15) Veronica SCHIAVON; 14) Maria Diletta VERONESE; 13) Maria Grazia CIOFFI; 12) Paolo ZANGIROLAMI (captain); 11) Manuela FURLAN; 10) Michela TONDINELLI; 9) Sara BARATTIN;  8) Silvia GAUDINO;  7) Giuliana CAMPANELLA;   6) Michela ESTE;  5) Sara PETTINELLI; 4) Flavia SEVERIN; 3) Lucia GAI; 2) Sara ZANON; 1) Elisa CUCCHIELLA. 
Substitutes (all used except 22): 16) Germana RAPONI;  17) Eleonora VAGHI;  18) Valentina RUZZA;  19) Cecilia ZUBLENA;  20) Chiara CASTELLARIN; 21) Claudia TEDESCHI;  22) Elisa ROCHAS 

RBS Player of the Match: Veronica Schiavon

Referee: Nicky Inwood (NZRU)