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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 March 2008, 14:54 GMT
Italy 23-20 Scotland
By Nabil Hassan

Italy celebrate
Italy celebrate their victory over Scotland in Rome

Italy (10) 23
Tries: Pen try, Canale
Cons: Marcato 2
Pens: Marcato 2
Drop-goal: Marcato

Scotland (17) 20
Tries: Hogg, Blair
Cons: Paterson 2
Pen: Parks Paterson

Andrea Marcato's late drop-goal secured a first 2008 Six Nations victory for Italy at the expense of Scotland.

Scotland led 17-10 at half-time after converted tries from Allister Hogg and Mike Blair cancelled out an early penalty try for Italy.

Gonzalo Canale's score from Sergio Parisse's interception levelled for Italy to set up a thrilling finish.

After a penalty apiece, Marcato struck at the death but Scotland avoided the Wooden Spoon on points difference.

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Highlights: Italy 23-20 Scotland

Scotland started nervously with Italy dominating the early exchanges through a combination of a solid scrum and the willingness to run the ball out of trouble.

Italy's first opportunity of points came courtesy of a weak Scottish scrum. The ball spilled out to Italian scrum-half Simon Picone, who kicked on and collected, only for Andrea Masi to waste the opportunity with a poor pass.

But just a minute later another Scottish scrum felt the full force of the Italian front-row and prop Euan Murray was penalised for bringing down his opposite number.

Marcato missed the penalty but made no mistake with a conversion five minutes later after Italy's first try of the game.

Scotland were penalised at a scrum, Italy opted to pack down again and the second time the visitors offended, referee Nigel Owens awarded the penalty try.

To their credit, Scotland hit back on 20 minutes through Hogg.

Andrew Henderson looked to have wasted a glorious opportunity to cross in the corner when he slipped with only Picone to beat. But the ball was recycled and quick Scottish hands out wide put in Hogg.

Chris Paterson sent over the conversion but passed on the kicking duties to Dan Parks a few minutes later for a long-range penalty which the Glasgow man landed.

Marcato levelled the score with another effort from distance but in half-time injury time Blair rounded off a fine first period when he picked up a loose ball in midfield to dive under the posts unchallenged.

Paterson converted to send Scotland into the break with a seven-point lead but Italy levelled the score on the hour mark after a cagey start to the second period.

606: DEBATE

Parisse intercepted Parks's loose pass and sprinted almost the length of the pitch before passing inside to Canale to dive over.

Marcato sent over the extras as the Stadio Flaminio crowd sensed a first 2008 Six Nations victory.

The try not only galvanised the fans but it also reignited the Italian challenge as they went in search of the lead.

Italy went ahead through the boot of Marcato with 10 minutes remaining after Scotland had been penalised for offside.

But Paterson levelled with eight minutes to go to set up a grandstand finale in Rome.

Italy finished the stronger and worked Marcato into drop-goal position to seal the match with virtually the last kick of the game.

Despite the victory Italy still finished bottom of the table, but the fact mattered little to both players, management and supporters who celebrated jubilantly in Rome.

  • Watch the match in full on BBC iPlayer for seven days from Sunday (UK users only)


    Italy: Marcato, Robertson, Canale, Bergamasco, Galon, Masi, Picone, Lo Cicero, Ghiraldini, Castrogiovanni, del Fava, Bortolami, Sole, Zanni, Parisse.
    Replacements: Travagli for Masi (61), Patrizio for Picone (63), Perugini for Lo Cicero (57), Ongaro for Ghiraldini (68), Nieto for Castrogiovanni (57). Not Used: Erasmus, Sgarbi.

    Scotland: Southwell, Danielli, Webster, Morrison, Parks, Paterson, Blair, Jacobsen, Thomson, Murray, Hines, MacLeod, Strokosch, Hogg, Taylor.
    Replacements: Henderson for Danielli (6), R. Lawson for Thomson (53), Smith for Murray (58), White for MacLeod (53), Brown for Hogg (71). Not Used: S. Lawson, Dickinson.

    Att: 40,000.

    Ref: N Owens (Wales).



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