Scotland hammer Italy in record rout

·3-min read
Try double - Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe runs in his second try against Italy

Scotland got their Six Nations campaign back on track with a record 52-10 hammering of Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Scots ran in eight tries as they surpassed their previous highest score and winning margin against Italy, a 48-7 2015 World Cup warm-up rout.

It was also Italy's 32nd successive Six Nations defeat, a run stretching all the way back to a 2015 win at Murrayfield.

There were hopes the Azzurri might finish their involvement in this year's edition with a flourish when captain Luca Bigi was driven over for the opening try in just the sixth minute.

But from then on the game was largely one-way traffic as Scotland set themselves up for next week's re-arranged match away to France, a fixture postponed from last month because of a coronavirus outbreak in the French camp.

Scotland had launched their campaign with an impressive 11-6 win away to reigning champions England only to suffer narrow home defeats by Wales and Ireland.

But on Saturday they had a four-try bonus point by half-time to lead 24-10 at the break.

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg, deputising at fly-half after Finn Russell was ruled out with concussion suffered in last week's 27-24 loss to Ireland, was pleased by his side's showing.

"All week we talked about having a big performance and showing a performance that represented us," he told the BBC. "We've had a huge amount of confidence from the beginning of this Six Nations but it's the small things that have got away from us."

- 'Frustrating' -

Meanwhile defeated Italy coach Franco Smith was clear where hs side had fallen short.

"The ill discipline, the yellow cards... the first try we conceded, we missed nine tackles -- that's unacceptable," he told reporters.

"We came back and then defended well for long periods. That inconsistency is frustrating from a coaching perspective."

Scotland's Dave Cherry and Duhan van der Merwe crossed early on before Darcy Graham and Huw Jones went over after Italy had been reduced to 14 men by Federico Mori's yellow card.

Italy's Sebastian Negri and Monty Ioane were also sin-binned in a second half where they didn't manage a point.

Cherry and Van der Merwe crossed again with Scott Steele and Sam Johnson also touching down.

The Azzurri, as they had done in an eventual heavy defeat by England, scored the first try of the match.

Italy fly-half Paolo Garbisi got good distance on a penalty kick to touch.

From the close-range line-out, a powerful maul saw Bigi driven over, with Garbisi adding the difficult conversion.

Scotland replied in kind in the 11th minute when hooker Cherry, making his first Test start, was driven over from a close-range maul for a maiden international try.

Minutes later Scotland were 12-7 ahead.

From the kick-off, Jones surged through the middle of Italy's defence and into the 22 before, after good work by the forwards, Van der Merwe sprinted in for a try,

Italy were a man down when Mori was sin-binned for an illegal shoulder charge on Sam Johnson.

Scotland made their advantage count when Sean Maitland brushed aside some weak tackles and found Jones, whose pop pass sent in Graham.

The hosts took advantage of more suspect defence as they attacked from deep in a move that ended with Jones' try.

Italy's match and, arguably, their tournament were summed up at the start of the second half when Garbisi's kick-off went straight into touch.

Soon afterwards, Cherry was again driven over for another maul try.

Steele added to Scotland's try tally either side of yellow cards for Negri and Ioane, who might have seen red after a dump tackle on Hogg if the Scotland star had landed on his head.

Nine minutes from time, Scotland had an eighth try when, with Italy in the hosts' 22, replacement Ali Price broke off a ruck before expertly sending in Van der Merwe.