Italy hand Scotland the wooden spoon

Kris Burton

Kris Burton

First published in National Sport News © by

Scotland suffered the ignominy of an RBS 6 Nations whitewash and the wooden spoon after Italy inflicted a 13-6 defeat on Andy Robinson's side in Rome.

In what could be the final game for head coach Robinson, Scotland contributed significantly to their own downfall in an error-strewn display at the Stadio Olimpico as Nick De Luca and Jim Hamilton were sin-binned.

Mirco Bergamasco kicked a penalty, Giovanbattista Venditti crossed for a converted try in De Luca's absence and Kristopher Burton added a drop goal after 77 minutes as Italy triumphed.

Alessandro Zanni was shown a yellow card in the final quarter, but Scotland could not capitalise on their numerical advantage and their only points in an incoherent and indisciplined performance came through two Greig Laidlaw penalties.

Martin Castrogiovanni helped Italy establish forward momentum early on and Bergamasco kicked a penalty after lock Hamilton strayed offside. But the Italy wing missed a more straightforward attempt at goal after David Denton was isolated breaking off a scrum and held on to concede a penalty.

John Barclay foiled a Burton drop-goal attempt before, after 35 minutes, Scotland made forward progress. Their scrum advanced from halfway and the hosts crumbled, with Laidlaw kicking the visitors level from just inside the Italy half.

A Richie Gray knock-on at the restart immediately handed Italy possession and De Luca was sin-binned for kicking the ball out of scrum-half Edoardo Gori's hand. Scotland, though, were handed a reprieve as Bergamasco again failed to strike his kick cleanly.

The hosts were looking for an opening early in the second period and Venditti found one, bursting through a Stuart Hogg tackle to touch down with Burton converting. Laidlaw was off-target with a Scotland penalty from the touchline after Italy turned the ball over at the restart and De Luca returned after seven points were conceded in his absence.

Replacement Kellock was then pulled down by Zanni at a line-out, allowing Laidlaw to cut the deficit to four points with 20 minutes remaining.

Robinson made a late change in an effort to turn the momentum in Scotland's favour, introducing Ruaridh Jackson for Laidlaw. But the fly-half could only watch as Scotland's struggles continued and Burton kicked the hosts seven points ahead with three minutes remaining.

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