Six Nations 2019: Five times Scotland v Italy went to the wire


Relive Scotland’s dramatic Six Nations win in Rome last year
Six Nations: Scotland v Italy
Venue: Murrayfield Date: Saturday, 2 February Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC television & online; listen on Radio Scotland; follow live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend says he expects a stern test on Saturday from an Italy side still smarting from losing late on in Rome last year.

Greig Laidlaw’s 79th-minute penalty denied the Italians a first tournament win since 2015 as Scotland won 29-27.

That contest it is far from the only nail-biting meeting of the two nations, though, so BBC Scotland has picked out five of the best since the Six Nations began in 2000.

17 March, 2001

Duncan Hodge kicked 18 points for Scotland, including two late penalties

Italy had marked their introduction to the tournament by beating Scotland and were out for another win a year later at Murrayfield.

The visitors led for long spells, a 21-year-old Mauro Bergamasco scoring a brilliant solo try as they led 19-17 in the closing stages. But Scotland fly-half Duncan Hodge had other ideas as he broke Italian hearts with two late penalties.

Italy ultimately ended with the wooden spoon and Scotland finished third – their joint best Six Nations placing.

18 March, 2006

Chris Paterson crossed for Scotland’s only try and kicked five points

Scotland came into the final match of the 2006 edition on the back of a ninth consecutive Six Nations away defeat, this time in Ireland. However, they had recorded two impressive home wins against France and England under head coach Frank Hadden. Italy had a draw against Wales to show for their efforts.

With the sides level at 10-10 with 10 minutes left in Rome, the hosts came within a whisker of a try through Mirco Bergamasco after a scintillating counter-attack. But after Andrea Lo Cicero was pinged for holding on with three minutes left, Chris Paterson showed typical nerves of steel to stroke over a penalty and silence the whistling Stadio Flaminio crowd.

15 March, 2008

Italian players, including current captain Sergio Parisse, celebrate after Andrea Marcato’s late drop goal

Italy exorcised the ghosts of that late home defeat two years earlier by snatching this last-gasp win to make it back-to-back wins over Scotland.

The visitors led 17-10 at half-time after converted tries from Allister Hogg and Mike Blair cancelled out an early penalty try. But Gonzalo Canale crossed after Sergio Parisse’s interception, and after the sides exchanged late penalties, the match looked destined for a draw.

However, dogged play by the Italian pack teed up full-back Andrea Marcato to nail a drop goal and get the hosts their first victory of the tournament. Perhaps cruelly, Italy still got the wooden spoon on points difference.

22 February, 2014

Duncan Weir knew his drop goal had clinched the match before it bisected the posts

In the wake of criticism following miserable losses against Ireland and England – in which Scotland had scored just six points and conceded 48 – interim head coach Scott Johnson said that “the best way to close critics’ mouths is to perform”. This probably was not the performance Johnson was looking for, but in the end the victory was sweet.

After two tries and two penalties each, a two-point conversion was Italy’s advantage in the final minute. But Laidlaw whipped the ball to Duncan Weir in the pocket with 19 seconds left and, after putting boot to ball, the fly-half wheeled away in celebration knowing his intervention was the winning one. It was to be Scotland’s only Six Nations win that year.

28 February, 2015

Scotland could not cope with Italy’s last-minute driving maul at Murrayfield

The appointment of Vern Cotter as head coach signalled a bright new dawn for Scottish rugby. Narrow defeats against France and Wales offered some encouraging signs, which were quickly extinguished by an Italian side who had been convincingly dispatched by both Ireland and England.

The hosts led 16-8 but, when a penalty came back off a Scotland post, Giovanbattista Venditti collected to burrow over.

Scotland’s misfortune was an omen of what was to come. Leading by four points in the final minute and with a man in the sin-bin, Scotland crumbled under pressure from a powerful Italian maul, and referee George Clancy awarded a penalty try, and with it, victory to Italy.

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