TRY! Scotland 12-6 Italy (Kinghorn, 30)
Scotland finally have their try after what felt like 20 minutes in Italy’s red zone. White runs laterally at the base of the set piece and gives it to Kinghorn. Tuipulotu runs a great dummy run which allows Kinghorn to step off his left foot and cut back against the grain. He barges over to score. He then steps up and slots the conversion.
Yellow! Italy (Riccioni 29)
The scrum goes down again and Riccioni is shown a yellow. Gardner makes good on his word but I think he’s sent off the wrong man as the scrum collapsed on the other side. Either way, the Scottish pack is well on top. The winger Gesi, on debut, is the sacrificial lamb as Italy send on another prop.
28 min: Another penalty against the Italian scrum. It’s for collapsing and not controlling their weight. Angus Gardner gives them a telling to. “Either hold your weight up or guys will be sitting down.” Scotland with options either side.
27 min: This time a scrum penalty for Scotland. To be honest, I have no idea why. Scotland choose to pack down again, so, as we were.
25 min: Italy take a an age to put the ball in so Scotland have a free kick. What was going on? Tuipulotu at first receiver smashes at the line. Ritchie tries to find a gap in the line but can’t. Schoeman makes a yard. White goes right to Gray. The counter ruck is good and Italy almost snatch it back but there’s a knock on so Scotland will have the scrum right beneath the Italian poles. They MUST leave here with seven points. Italy though holding strong.
24 min: Scotland make a mess of that line-out. Ricthie lifted but the ball doesn’t come and Italy don’t hoist anyone. As Ricthie comes down Italy nail the Scottish pack and the ball is fumbled. First scrum of the match with Italy feeding five metres from their own line.
23 min: Scratch that. It’s a Scotland penalty after the TMO has overruled the initial call as an Italian committed a no-arms tackle which led to the Scottish knock on. So Scotland have the ball again on the Italian try line. Iachizzi goes off for a HIA for Cannone. Scotland go to the corner again.
22 min: Scotland win the line-out but the maul doesn’t make yards. The ball moves infield. Schoeman gives it to Gray. White darts for the line but is short. They’re so close after eight phases. Italy holding. Scotland lose and Italy can clear. A Scot is off side and Italy will have a penalty on their own try line. Immense defence from the men in blue.
20 min: The Scottish maul takes it close and Turner darts for the line. He’s held back. Fagerson goes before it’s spread left. Kinghorn comes close as he attempts to squeeze between two tacklers in the corner but is shunted out. Solid defence from Italy. It’s Scotland’s ball though.
18 min: Scotland have a penalty after Italy stray off side after that kick. Five metres out. Scotland go for the corner. Oh, he’s shanked that. Should have been in the corner but it’s about eight metres out.
17 min: This time Italy kick deep and Kinghorn gathers. Smith charges towards the line, as does Schoeman from short distance. Scotland kick after three caries don’t go anywhere. White’s box kick is well held by Garbisi as Scotland chase well. Brex straightens. Italy have it inside their 22. Still they pass until Allan kicks right on his own line.
Penalty! Scotland 5-6 Italy (Allan, 16)
That’ll annoy Gregor Townsend. Having just taken the lead through a brilliant try, they cough it up as Allan slots his penalty from the right.
15 min: Italy have a penalty straight from the restart. Dempsey enters from the side (or was that sealing off?) Either way, Italy have options about 30 metres out on the right. They point to the posts.
TRY! Scotland 5-3 Italy (Van der Merwe, 13)
Sensational finish from the burly Scot. One of the best I’ve ever seen. He’s airborn and over the touchline as he dots down under firm pressure from Garbisi in the corner. How’s he done that?! One handed as well. Just brilliant. It’s from a quick tap and go from Scotland from a penalty advantage and he gathered a wild pass out wide. That needed some finishing.
Kinghorn misses the tough conversion.
Has Duhan scored? He received the ball on the left touchline and dived into the corner. On field call is try. They’re going upstairs.
13 min: Gray through the middle and Scotland have the penalty advantage five out. Italy keep hammering the ball carriers and the ball is spilled so Scotland have the chance for three. They tap and go…
11 min: Ritchie wins it at the front. The maul forms but doesn’t go anywhere. White gets it to van der Merwe under pressure. Watson straightens. Schoeman throws a dummy that fools no one. Dempsey busts over the gainline. Kinghorn plays a great ball to Jones who shovels it on for van der Merwe cutting back in on the angle. Italy defending well though.
10 min: Smith makes a wriggling run from fullback. Zander Fagerson makes a strong carry to get White on the front foot. Scotland win a penalty as White is played before the ball was out at the back. Scotland go to the corner.
That all started because Italy tried to run the ball, rather than kick, as they collected the restart. Now they have to defend a line-out eight metres out.
Penalty! Scotland 0-3 Italy (Allan, 8)
Scotland won’t mind leaving their own 22 only three points behind. Italy had a try to score after a solid maul from a line-out. Instead they settle for a penalty.
7 min: Lamaro brings the line-out down at the back. The maul rumbles forward. They’re five metres out before getting a penalty advantage. The maul continues. They’re close. The spread it left and Brex mops up a loose ball but can’t stick the final pass. So they come back for the penalty right in front. Looks like they’ll take the three points.
5 min: Another Italian penalty on the floor. Schoeman not rolling away. Garbisi and Allan chat and the flyhalf decides to kick to touch from the halfway line. It’s a good kick. They’ll have the line-out 10 metres out.
4 min: Allan misses that penalty from 38 metres out. It wasn’t straight in front but the angle should have worked with his right boot. That’s a bad miss.
3 min: Fusco kicks and Kinghorn gathers well and sends it deep. Italy secure the line-out in the middle and maul. They make some ground before spinning it in the back line and kick again. Ollie Smith catches and kicks. Italy kick as well. Van der Merwe decides to charge into the mass of bodies and the prop, Fischetti wins a penalty on the ground. Italy win that little kick battle and will have a shot at goal.
1 min: A strong carry immediately from Van der Merwe after Italy kick off. White hoofs a box kick high and now Italy build from their own half.
But the Scots know how to belt out a tune of their own. And there’s a bagpipe player on the roof! I know he’s always there but still worth a mention. Now the crowd goes acapella for the last bits of Flower of Scotland. Love it!
That Italian anthem. Every time. So good!
Conditions look good. Both teams have pace to burn so hopefully that means a show.
Five minutes to go. The players are filing through the tunnel.
Stuart Hogg is pitch-side chatting about his ankle:
It’s not as bad as first feared. These things happen in rugby. I’m hoping it’s around four to six weeks. That’s what the doc tells me. Hopefully it’ll be a lot less.
It was incredible [playing his 100th Test for his country]. I absolutely loved it. To see my little man run out there with the match ball, that was absolute quality.
Time flies when you’re having fun and [his first game] was 11 years ago.
Ollie [Smith, his replacement] is a class act. He’s really challenged me to get the 15 jersey and it’s perked me up a bit. Hopefully he gets a lot of ball in hand and shows what he can do.
This doesn’t involve our game today, but it’s worth sharing.
ITV is showing highlights from Italy’s win over Wales last year. I was there, reporting on the game, and it was just sensational. One of the most emotional finishes I’d ever seen. Don’t count on them doing something similar today.
Gregor Townsend is not taking Italy lightly:
We’re very weary. They were close to beating Ireland and France. They move the ball from everywhere and they’ve got nothing to lose
I’ve been banging on about the absence of Fin Russell but also worth noting that Stuart Hogg isn’t playing either.
“It would be a disaster”,” says former Scotland No. 8, John Barclay, on ITV. He’s talking about the the possibility of Scotland losing today and what that would mean for their competition as a whole.
Here’s proof that Blair can ball.
That is mauve, right?
Scotland are on an 11 game winning streak against Italy, having last lost to the Azzuri back in 2015 when a late penalty try snatched it for the men in blue (Scotland were in red then, they’re in a sort of mauve today)
Before that the contest was pretty even with Scotland winning 12 and Italy claiming seven of the previous Tests.
Capuozzo absent as Italy chase first Murrayfield win in eight years
I’m sorry to break the news if you didn’t already know but everyone’s favourite player won’t be taking part today. Ange Capuozzo, that hot-stepping wizard suffered a shoulder injury before the Wales game but that doesn’t mean Italy can’t hurt Scotland today. Paolo Garbisi at 10 is a superstar and it’s a powerful back row.
Italy: Allan; Bruno, Brex, Menoncello, Gesi; P Garbisi, Fusco; Fischetti, Nicotera, Riccioni, Iachizzi, Ruzza, Negri, Lamaro (c), L Cannone
Replacements: Manfredi, Zani, Ceccarelli, N Cannone, Pettinelli, Zuliani, A Garbisi, Morisi.
No Finn but a strong Scotland team named
Blair Kinghorn starts at 10. That’ll attract some attention. He’s no Bobby Dazzler but he’s got a turn of pace and deft hands.
Scotland: Smith; Steyn, Jones, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe; Kinghorn, White; Schoeman, Turner, Z Fagerson, Skinner, Gray, Ritchie (c), Watson, Dempsey
Replacements: Ashman, Sutherland, Nel, Cummings, M Fagerson, Price, Healy, Redpath
Hello everyone! We made it. The final round of what’s been a cracking Six Nations. And, if I can get a little personal, it’s my two favourite teams in the competition. I know France and Ireland are the darlings of European rugby right now, but I just adore what the Scots and Italians are all about. It should be dashing and daring (despite the absence of Finn).
For Scotland, they have a chance to underline their status as the third best team on the continent. They haven’t had a top half finish since 2018 and a win today will secure third spot.
Italy are out to prove that last year’s win over Wales was no one hit wonder. They’ve been disappointing this campaign despite putting in some strong performances. Victory today would be some scalp and as this is their final hoorah, they’ll give it everything.
My name is Daniel, but feel free to call me Dan, we’re all friends in these parts. Drop me a line if you fancy. Looking forward to being with you over the next few hours.
Kick off is at 12:30. Teams and other bits to come.