Scotland collected the 2012 Six Nations Wooden Spoon in Rome on a lovely spring day. The weather was fine and the Stadio Olimpico, should have been the setting for a fine game of rugby but it was not to be. Scotland have stuttered throughout this campaign and today was no exception as they coughed up the ball almost at every attacking opportunity. The first half and most certainly Italy had the best of the game though all both sides had to show at the end of it was 3-3. This from penalties by Bergamasco and Laidlaw.
The second period and we looked forward to the game opening up and some running rugby, but yet again Scotland could not control the ball long enough to build anything and it was Italy who eventually broke down the Scots defence for Giovanbattista Venditti to go over and score. Bergamasco added the extras and it was 10-3. Laidlaw slotted a penalty to give the Scots fans hope and yet again they pressed into Italy’s half, but as yet another line-out went astray Italy weathered the storm and broke out. The game was taken away from Scotland as Kris Burton took it out to 13-6 with a drop goal. Scotland could have closed to a draw with a converted try but it never looked like coming and so it was we came to the final score of:
Italy 13-6 Scotland
Pens: Laidlaw 2
Italy: 15 Massi, 14 Venditti, 13 Benvenuti, 12 Canale, 11 Bergamasco, 10 Burton, 9-Gori, 1 Lo Cicero, 2 Ongaro, 3 Castrogiovanni, 4 Geldenhuys, 5 Bortolami, 6 Zanni, 7 Barbieri, 8 Parisse (C).
Replacements: 16 D’Apice, 17 Cittadini, 18 Furno, 19 Favaro, 20 Vosawai, 21 Botes, 22 Toniolatti
Scotland: 15 Hogg, 14 Evans, 13 De Luca, 12 Morrison, 11 Lamont, 10 Laidlaw, 9 Blair, 1 Welsh 2 Ford (C), 3 Cross, 4 Gray, 5 Hamilton, 6 Barclay, 7 Rennie, 8 Denton.
Replacements: 16 Lawson, 17 Murray, 18 Kellock, 19 Vernon, 20 Cusiter, 21 Jackson, 22 Cuthbert
Referee : Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Touch judges : George Clancy (Ireland), Pascal Gauzere (France)
TV : Tony Redmond (Ireland)
So Scotland collected the Wooden spoon and our prediction about them putting a performance together was wrong. Full marks to Italy who have been competitive in all their games. Look out for them if they ever produce a set of backs with pace and flair to use the ball from their forwards albeit slow.