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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 September 2007, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Scotland-Italy as it happened
Result: Scotland 18-16 Italy



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By Julian Shea

"It wasn't pretty but I'll take it! We showed Italy far too much respect and not enough courage. We didn't deal with the pressure as well as I'd have liked and that's what I am most cross with - more so than the terrible officiating."
Redrage19, via 606

A suitably shambolic end to a frankly hugely disappointing match.

It's taken a long time, but finally Italy are putting together some running passing moves and working the ball down the pitch. This is the final play, so as long as the ball is alive, they have a chance. And that chance evapourates when as Alessandro Troncon bizarrely chooses to kick the ball straight into the grasp of Dan Parks, who tumbles into touch and the game finishes.

78 mins: Andrea Masi goes off, Ezio Galon comes on for Italy.

74 mins: Slowly but surely Italy have been inching play up the field, and when Craig Smith is offside at a maul, David Bortolussi has a chance to kick them ahead. It goes wide, and Frank Hadden can afford to crack a smile. To have fallen behind at this stage would have been a huge blow.

"Following the game from students union at Dunde. There is a small enclave of Italian fans amongst the Tartan rabble who seem quietly confident - or just quiet."
Jim, via text

72 mins: Two more changes for Scotland - Jim Hamilton off and Mike Blair off, Scott MacLeod and Chris Cusiter on.

"It's time to have a GB team, we can't compete anymore, that's a fact."
jim040z, via 606

"I live near Toulouse and have no national TV coverage of any games! Following on text all day. Could someone tell the French there's a rugby tournment going on!"
Pete, via text

I was in Paris last weekend Pete and the presence of about 20,000 Irish fans, many dressed as leprachauns or Irish dancers, made most of the locals realise something was happening.

65 mins: Gavin Kerr off for Scotland, Craig Smith on. Only 15 minutes to go and just two points separating the teams. Scotland do not look at all comfortable in the lead so anything could happen. Not that an enormous amount has happened so far, mind you.

"Hines carded for a high tackle - fair decision but why not Troncon for a clothesline effort on Parks? Ref has to be consistent. Very poor officials in this game. Also look for Hines getting cited for something untoward in a ruck in first half." The Dogman, via text

Euan Murray is lucky to avoid a yellow card for deliberately trying to bring down a maul and from the resulting penalty, David Bortolussi kicks three more points to keep Italy in with a chance of reaching the last eight.

59 mins: Andrew Henderson comes on, with Rob Dewey going off.

"Italy won't win. It breaks my sentimental heart to see my two favourite Six Nations teams scrapping like children in a playground, and Scotland have the maturity or pragmatism to just go for points. Oh well back to the wine then."
Carla, via text

A rare Italian passing move is disrupted by Nathan Hines; high tackle on Andrea Masi.

It costs him 10 minutes in the sin-bin and allows David Bortolussi to reduce the deficit by three points. The aftermath of the incident resutled in a bit of handbags between the players too. At least it's a sign of passion, maybe the game will pick up a bit now.

53 mins: As the rain gets worse, hooker Carlo Festucia goes off, and Fabio Ongaro comes on.

51 MINS PENALTY SCOTLAND 18-10 ITALY: Italy's game is getting ragged and indisciplined, as they concede another penalty from a line-out.

Scotland are hardly doing anything hugely creative or exciting, but they are just being patient and letting Italy make the mistakes, which gift them chances. And when they come their way, Chris Paterson inevitably converts them.

48 mins: Andrea Lo Cicero comes on for Italy, Salvatore Perugini goes off.

More indiscipline from Italy as Salvatore Perugini and Josh Sole's overenthusiasm at the ruck gives Chris Paterson another straight as a die penalty from dead in front of the sticks. Unsurprisingly, he scores it.

"Here's hoping for a more entertaining second half. You can't really blame anyone on the pitch though, as the weather isn't exactly ideal for a smooth passing game. Some of Italy's challenges have been close to awful and deserved more than the punishment that has been dished out so far by the officials."
xenosys2005, via 606

42 mins: David Bortolussi comes within inches of putting Italy ahead with a penalty from a tight angle, but narrowly misses. An early warning for Scotland.

"I hope Michel Platini doesn't get any ideas from this game, or he'll be introducing rules where you can repeatedly take players out the game, trip them with impunity, and return to the field a mere ten minutes after nailing someone completely off the ball."
GK, via 606

Thanks for your text Carla (evidently an Italy fan), but your comments seem to be more about the standard of British tv coverage rather than the game itself, so we don't really have much say in those matters. But hopefully you're enjoying our coverage.

"Scotland seem to have changed back to the team we saw before the World Cup. What happened to the team who beat Ireland and played well against South Africa? If this game is lost big questions need to be asked of the SRU and if we are in fact selecting our best 15 players."
graeme82, via 606

That wasn't big or clever - just as the clock was ticking past the 40 minute mark, Dan Parks attempted a drop goal from within his own half, which was charged down.

Not the best place to lose possession, but fortunately for Scotland, Italy fail to do anything with it and the half-time whistle goes without any more damage being done.

38 mins: Scotland are ending the half on the front foot. Meanwhile, the brass band in the stands are playing 'YMCA' by the Village People.

"Rory Lamont has been taken out twice, it has cost us a try and Lamont's part in this game. The trip is just another low blow. The officials need to do better!"
Redrage19, via 606

That man Chris Paterson kicks Scotland back in front again.

33 mins: Former St Etienne footballer turned Uefa chief Michel Platini is in the crowd this evening. I wonder what he makes of people getting up from such bone-cruching challenges, getting their breath back and getting on with the game, and having respect for officials?

He seems keen on innovations in football, maybe he'll go away from this game with some ideas.

Penalty to Scotland for a nasty high challenge by Alessandro Troncon which flattens Dan Parks. Fairly central, kickable distance - this calls for Chris Paterson, and he does what he gets paid handsomely to do.

28 mins: Euan Murray's error gives Italy another penalty near the halfway line, David Bortolussi's kick has the legs but sadly not the sense of direction.

The game is hardly scaling the heights of Wales v Fiji but is entertaining enough so far, but large parts of the crowd have already resorted to entertaining themselves by doing a wave. Isn't that slightly insulting to the players? "You're not entertianing us, we'll do it ourselves."

24 mins: A big blow for Scotland - Rory Lamont is in no fit state to continue, unsurprisingly after his horrible knock on the head earlier on. Hugo Southwell is a decent enough replacement, but losing a player like Lamont so early will be a huge disappointment to the Scots.

23 mins: Mirco Bergamasco does his best Phil Vickery impression and clearly trips Dan Parkes, with almost the entire population of the stadium noticing it and expression their dissatisfaction. Unfortunately the only people who do not see it are the officials, so he gets away with it. But a post-match citing will be in order there, surely.

All quiet on the text front, although interestingly we share a text inbox with Radio 1, so I can play some requests if the game gets quiet.

"No, Mr Shea. I've been on "Sky at Night" 4 times (and one or two other BBC productions), but I am not Sir Patrick."
cricketing_stargazer, via 606

20 mins: OUCH. A tooth-rattling collision - Rory Lamont leaps up into the air, Crouching Dragon Hidden Tiger-style, to volley the ball out of play, collides heavily with Italy's Andrea Masi and falls horrendously head-first into the turf.

Both players need medical treatment, but are back on their feet within minutes, after a quick application of the cold sponge. Remarkable.

18 mins: Mauro Bergamasco returns from his 10 minutes in the sin-bin, during which his side scored 10 points. So being a man down was hardly a disadvantage, was it? Worrying for Scotland that they failed to use their supposed advantage in any way.

David Bortolussi kicks a penalty from near the half-way line after Scotland are penalised for entering the ruck from the side.

Uh-oh, you spoke too soon Stargazer!

The wet conditions have already seen both sides using the high ball a lot, and it is no surprise when one of them leads to the first try.

Mirco Bergamasco flattens the referee as he follows up a high ball, which Rory Lamont fails to gather, and Alessandro Troncon bursts over from close range to touch down. David Bortolussi kicks Italy into the lead.

"This is the sort of game that four years ago Scotland would never even have contemplated losing. England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland have been almost embarrassingly poor so far. However, at this stage in the Murrayfield game Italy had already run in 3 tries. Doesn't look like Scotland are going to make the same mistake again."
Cricketing_stargazer, via 606

'Cricketing Stargazer'? Not Sir Patrick Moore, surely?

7 mins: It gets better for Scotland fans. Dan Parks' towering kick puts Kane Robertson under pressure and advances Scotland towards the left-hand corner.

In the aftermath of the resulting line-out, Mauro Bergamasco is sin-binned for taking out Simon Taylor without the ball and blocking a try-scoring chance. Six points and a one-man advantage - not bad going so far.

Mike Blair kicks clear after Ramiro Pez's blocked chip hands the ball and initiative to Scotland. They take play down the other end, Italy concede a penalty and that man Chris Paterson is on hand again to double the lead.

Two minutes on the clock and Chris Paterson's penalty puts Scotladn on top. That will lift their confidence and automatically knock a bit of the stuffing out of Italy.

1 min: Dan Parks kicks off for Scotland and we're underway. Straight away, a very noisy brass band in the crowd spring into action. Regardless of what happens on the pitch, it's unlikely to be a quiet night.

Pre-match: Plenty of Scotland fans have made the journey to St Etienne. After a day of decent weather, conditions look cold and blustery.

It's all or nothing for Scotland as they take on Italy in St Etienne with a place in the World Cup quarter-finals on offer for the winners.

Scotland coach Frank Hadden rested 13 players for last week's 40-0 mauling by New Zealand, but has named his strongest side for the Pool C eliminator.

The Italians have never made it into the quarter-finals of the World Cup but are hoping to do it at the sixth time of asking.

But they will be without captain Marco Bortolami, who misses out with hamstring and neck problems.

Last time the sides met in this year's Six Nations, the Italians came away with a 37-17 win at Murrayfield.

This afternoon Wales v Fiji was also a 'winner stays in, loser goes out' game, and look how that turned out. More drama like that and few spectators would be left complaining.

Scotland: R Lamont; S Lamont, Webster, Dewey, Paterson; Parks, Blair; Kerr, Ford, Murray, Hines, Hamilton, White (capt), Hogg, Taylor. Replacements: Lawson, Smith, MacLeod, Brown, Cusiter, Henderson, Southwell.

Italy: Bortolussi; Robertson, Canale, Mirco Bergamasco, Masi; Pez, Troncon (capt); Perugini, Festuccia, Castrogiovanni, Dellape, Del Fava, Sole, Mauro Bergamasco, Parisse. Replacements: Ongaro, Lo Cicero, Bernabo, Ghiraldini, Griffen, De Marigny, Galon.

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