Six Nations 2021: Scotland 52-10 Italy

By John Skilbeck 21 March 2021 8
Six Nations 2021: Scotland 52-10 Italy

Scotland crushed Six Nations whipping boys Italy with an eight-try demolition in Edinburgh as the ill-disciplined Azzurri suffered a 52-10 defeat.

Two tries from hooker David Cherry on his first start, plus a double from Duhan van der Merwe, helped the home side steam to an emphatic win, and Scotland should head to France in good spirits for the finale to their campaign on Friday.

After home defeats to Ireland and Wales earlier in the campaign, following a Calcutta Cup triumph at Twickenham, this was a match that coach Gregor Townsend and Scotland knew they must win.

The Italians' last victory in the championship came against the Scots at Murrayfield in 2015, and although a sketchy start from the home team may have had a Scottish crowd worried, in front of empty stands the home side were able to rapidly regroup and overwhelm their visitors.

In 2007, a hapless Scotland team trailed the Italians 21-0 after six minutes at Murrayfield following three tries, on their way to a 37-17 defeat. This time it was 7-0 to the Azzurri at that early stage after hooker Luca Bigi drove over in the left corner and Paolo Garbisi added a magnificent touchline kick.

Cherry burrowed over for a swift response, before Van der Merwe ran in a second Scots try, dashing down the left and taking his time before dotting down under the posts.

Italy lost Federico Mori to a yellow card for a dangerous dash at Sam Johnson, and the Scots took advantage, moving the ball well through hands to allow Darcy Graham and Huw Jones to plunder further tries.

Cherry powered through Italian blue shirts as the Scots drove a maul at the Italian line in the 45th minute, bagging his second try of the game. Stuart Hogg, having missed two of his four conversion attempts in the first half, nailed an excellent kick from just inside the right touchline to give Scotland a 31-10 cushion.

Sebastian Negri was the next Italian to be yellow-carded, and scrum-half Scott Steele boosted the Scotland lead from close range moments later. Monty Ioane followed Negri to the sin bin after picking up Hogg and dumping him to the ground.

Johnson dived in for a try and Van der Merwe streaked away for another to add to the misery of the disorientated Italians, who have now lost on 32 consecutive outings in the championship.


Hogg gets his kicks in record win

Hogg missed two of his first three kicks at goal but soon found his range, meaning the absent Finn Russell was not so badly missed as it appeared he might be at one stage. The stand-in fly-half was spot on with his next five conversion attempts, and those efforts helped Scotland post their heaviest ever win over Italy.

No repeat result after another Italian fast start

The 2007 defeat to Italy was a chilling result for Scotland, but when Italy edged ahead early this time that proved to be the peak of their achievement in the match. This Scotland side are made of sturdier stuff than teams gone by, and Italy simply offer little at this level anymore. They have lost 53 of 55 away games in the Six Nations now, and it is hard to see where the next win away from Rome, or anywhere in the Six Nations, may come.

What's next?

Italy's campaign is over, but the Scots still have one game remaining. They travel to Paris to take on France on Friday in the match that was postponed last month due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the French camp. After this scoring onslaught, the Scots are likely to need a big defensive effort to stop Les Bleus.

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John Skilbeck