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LONDON: Scotland played with aggression, discipline and attacking ambition to beat Italy 34-10 in the Six Nations yesterday, their first win in this year’s championship.
Tries from Tim Visser, Matt Scott, Stuart Hogg and Sean Lamont as well as 14 points from the boot of man-of-the-match Greig Laidlaw helped Scotland overwhelm an Italy team who came into the match full of confidence after beating France last weekend.
In a match often billed as the wooden spoon decider, Scotland, who were soundly beaten 38-18 by England on the opening weekend, were superior in all areas and capitalised on a string of Italian errors.
The Italians enjoyed the early territorial advantage, but this began to seep away as the errors crept in and they fell behind after 15 minutes when a Laidlaw penalty from 30 metres soared between the posts.
That lead was doubled nine minutes later when Andrea Lo Cicero, winning his 100th cap, was penalised for pulling down the maul and Laidlaw stepped up to notch another three points.
Scotland began to showcase their attacking fluency with Scott prevented from going over after a high-speed dash down the left flank thanks to a superb last-ditch tackle from Tobias Botes.
Luciano Orquera made Italy’s first mark on the scoreboard with a penalty a minute before the break.
If the Italians hoped that would give them a platform to build off they were swiftly brought down to earth after the restart as Scotland extended their lead with two quick tries.
Scott took a lovely offload from Sean Maitland to cross before Hogg intercepted a pass from the forlorn Orquera to gallop 80 metres for his second try in consecutive matches.
Laidlaw added the conversions to put the hosts 27-3 up after only eight minutes of the second half.
After Scott had a second try ruled out for a forward pass, Lamont added the final gloss to the scoreline when he picked up a loose ball and ran 50 metres for another excellent individual effort.
Italy’s Alessandro Zanni bundled the ball over late on for a consolation try but it came too late to spark a revival or dampen Scottish celebrations.
Meanwhile in another match, Wales ended an eight-match losing streak with a 16-6 victory over France in their Six Nations clash at the Stade de France yesterday night. REUTERS