By Lucky Maree
As the anthems ring out at the Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh, it is hard to imagine that the brave Azzurri will be able to give their loyal fans a victory against Gregor Townsend’s Scots, but that doesn’t mean that the Italians under Kieran Crowley will ever stop fighting.
Expect the Italians to use their one and only weapon, which is their speed and flair around the field, but expect the Scots to smother their attacks and comfortably score the win.
Italy score first through a penalty but what is probably the highlight of the match comes in the 12th minute when Duhan van der Merwe scores one of those wing tries where only the player’s hand is inside the field of play holding, scoring the touchdown, and the entire body is fully in mid air.
Scotland score a further try through Blair Kinghorn, one of the best finishers in rugby, and go into the break leading by two tries to Italy’s two penalties.
In the second half Blair Kinghorn again and it looks as if Italy may have surrendered.
But it turns out that Scotland start going through the motions without much enthusiasm – until Italy’s Tommaso Allan scores a defiant try and Paolo Garbisi gets a penalty. With 15 minutes to go Scotland are in the unusual position of defending their lead of five points.
Win or lose, Italy have made their nation proud. Scotland’s final performance of their Six Nations campaign will be a concern for Scotland’s coaching team.
With five minutes left on the clock, Italy ignore the easy penalty and set up the maul after the lineout. And then they bravely take on the Scots, possibly foolishly, in the scrum battle.
The final minute arrives with Italy knocking on – and with the clock in the red Duhan van der Merwe runs from behind his try line and after 60 yards down the left wing he passes to Blair Kinghorn who scores his hattrick try.
The first 60 minutes of the match are neither here not there, but the final quarter of brilliant rugby was worth waiting for.
Scotland (4 tries) 26-14 (1 try) Italy.
Pictured above: Duhan van der Merwe touching down
Image source: Twitter