john on 606:
"I have watched my last game of rugby union and no longer support the game in any way. The southern hemisphere and the fools that run the game, the IRB, have won."
espee66 on 606:
"We have some great talent in England, but they can't get on the pitch because of Captain Plod and JW and the daft lot at HQ. No pace and frankly our local pub team play with more passion every week. They should hang their heads in shame."
wales71 on 606:
"What a poor game of rugby but I am pleased the more creative team won, despite cheering on England. Maybe this loss will make the English RFU change a few things."
greyghost on 606:
"Wilkinson directly responsible for that loss. Pointless drop-goal attempts when he should've been pushing for more, terrible defence missing a crucial tackle leading to the second Bowe try and missed his kicks. Time to go, consigned to history."
Man of the match Jamie Heaslip:
"We've come back from deficits before, especially in the second half, and we showed belief and confidence in each others' abilities. We got a good try and closed the game out well, England had good time on the ball and played territory well but I suppose we took our chances, the scoreboard reflects the game. We looked at the France game and thought we didn't take our opportunities, today we did - we had no doubts about what we could do, for an Ireland player it's not that hard to get motivated for an England game, especially here."
hexxen on 606:
"I have to say that this England side are as dull as dishwater. I cannot believe how negative we are with ball in hand. I had high hopes when Johnson took over but it is just not working. He is obviously not up to the task and cannot motivate the team in any way. I'm Sorry Martin, it pains me to say it, but it's time to resign!"
You can carry on watching Guscott, Wood and Davies arguing like kids on our online interactive forum, unless you live abroad or something, I think...?
spurs on 606:
"This is the worst England team I have seen in decades. The whole management and playing style of the team is a laughing stock. You would think they would at least be strong in the forwards but they are desperate."
dwaldo on 606:
"A truly awful game between two awful teams. The southern hemisphere must find this utter rubbish hilarious."
Jamie Heaslip is the man of the match. Here's a stat for you: Ireland made 99 tackles in that match, and missed just one. And England fans can rumble all night about how much possession they had, it's what you do with it that counts...
FULL-TIME - England 16-20 Ireland
England go wide, the ball goes loose, but England win it back again. Loose again, bodies flying all over the place, but England retain possession. Turned over by Tony Buckley, Jamie Heaslip throws into touch, and Ireland have the victory. Three tries to one, you can't really argue.
O'Gara manages to find touch, just evading the charge of Tait. England win the line-out,l but they must score from this passage of play, the clock it is a'ticking...
Hammer blow from Ireland, not sure where Wilkinson was there. England have a few minutes to nick this, but it's not looking that likely. The pack get a surge on into the Irish 22... still rumbling, still rumbling... but Ireland win the scrum...
Former England hooker Brian Moore on BBC One:
"Straight, simple running. Bowe came inside Wilkinson, with a good angle, and he's delighted because he's not had much to do in attack. That's a crucial try and the conversion gives Ireland a four-point cushion which makes it difficult for England."
75 mins: TRY England 16-20 Ireland
Sweet kick from O'Gara, Ireland with some territory at last. Hodgson replaces Care for England, Wilson on for Cole in the front row. Poor line-out ball for new scrum-half Hodgson, but he does well to tidy up. Some confusion as to whether the ball is out at the ruck, but Wilkinson eventually kicks clear. RUDDY HECK! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? IRELAND HAVE SCORED! Simple again - O'Connell soars at the line-out and Tommy Bowe comes blasting into the line, takes the pass from O'Leary and skips over almost unopposed. Not great defence, O'Gara kicks the extras meaning England need a try.
71 mins: DROP-GOAL England 16-13 Ireland
Ireland make another change, O'Gara on for Sexton at outside-half, and Shane Jennings replaces David Wallace on the open-side. Care makes a sniping break and Foden is on his shoulder... the ball goes left, is shipped backed to Wilkinson, and guess what happens next? Drop-goal, England have the lead.
Signs that England are taking the game by the scruff of the neck. Foden keeps it in hand as the ball is slung left. Tony Buckley wraps up Wilkinson, before Tait skips past Earls. Too slow though from England, although Wilkinson makes a half-break. Borthwick loses a yard, and Ireland turn it over. Relief for the visitors.
Trimble on to right wing, Bowe moves to the left wing, Earls switches to centre. England make progress down the left but Cueto takes the wrong option and kicks through for an Ireland drop-out. Wilkinson goes for the drop-goal, but he knew Ireland were offside and the charge-down is moot... Wilkinson hooks his three-pointer left, he now has three form six.
O'Driscoll got a knee in the head from his own team-mate Paul O'Connell. Eighteen stone, O'Connell, that must have been like getting wrapped round the head with a Steinway. Ireland's skipper is carried off on a stretcher, let's hope it's merely precautionary.
Care with the box kick and Monye gets underneath it. Wilkinson with a little tease of a kick, but it bounces the wrong way for Flutey. Foden, still Persil white after more than 10 minutes on the pitch, gets his mitts on the ball at last... and kicks the ball away. O'Driscoll's down and being treated.
61 mins: TRY England 13-13 Ireland
Care with the kick ahead and Earls touches down - England five-metre scrum, and they must score from here. Trouble at scrum-time, signs that the Irish set-piece is creaking, but they do eventually get a shove on. Wilkinson to Tait, who's held up short, and Dan Cole burrows over. "It's a try!" says Nick Easter to referee Mark Lawrence. Alas, Nick, it isn't, he didn't get the ball down. Yes he did! The man upstairs gives it, and that continues England's record of scoring at every Six Nations match at Twickenham. Wilkinson kicks the extras, we're all square.
57 mins: TRY England 6-13 Ireland
Ireland try! Clinical finishing down the short side by the livewire Keith Earls
, Sexton with the killer pass. Simple stuff, as was the first try. Sexton pushes the conversion wide, and England will still be grumbling about that penalty, apparently it was for Care dumping O'Leary.
England penalty, Hayes with some dodgy binding, and we've got some handbags at Twickenham. O'Leary appeared to have stopped Care from playing quick ball, and The Brand and Stephen Ferris end up pushing and shoving like a couple of ladies. Not sure how Ireland ended up with the penalty, but that's a fine kick to touch from Sexton.
Ireland make ground, but give away a penalty in front of England's posts for holding onto the ball. Lots and lots of penalties coming England's way, but the hosts are making too many errors. Plodding from England, they just haven't been able to get their back-line firing, and now Wilkinson is driven backwards in the tackle and Ireland win the scrum.
Wilkinson with the cross-kick for Cueto and Murphy calls the mark and clears. Borthwick with a safe line-out take, but it's painfully slow from England at the breakdown and Ireland turn it over. Sexton chips through, Monye taps the ball into touch, but Ireland give away the advantage by throwing from the wrong place. Off goes Armitage, looks like he's done a collar bone, and on comes Ben Foden of Northampton.
England scrappy at the line-out again, and Wilkinson eventually knocks forward in the tackle. This half hasn't got going yet, as Armitage gathers a kick through by O'Leary. Monye under the high ball, but Ireland are penalised for a tackle in the air. Armitage is injured and receiving attention.
Ireland off-side now, and Wilkinson's going to have a go from inside his own half... surely he hasn't got the legs? Nope, he hasn't...
Former England back Austin Healey on BBC One:
"Jonny Wilkinson seems to be out there by himself, a lot of players are not taking part in the game - James Haskell might as well be up here in the commentary box with me. The weather has got a lot worse and in the second half the Gaelic skills will come in. It's not just about kicking, it's about the chase too - Jonny's taking a lot of stick but he's probably England's best back at the moment."
We're under way again. The rain has stopped now, it's actually pretty clear overhead. Murphy fluffs a high ball, but Easter was in front of the kicker and Ireland have a penalty from out right. Twickenham still comatose, Sexton misses by some distance.
Former England centre Jeremy Guscott on BBC One:
"Ireland have been smarter tactically, they've kicked twice as much as England, it's all about kicking into space and getting a good chase on - we've have hardly heard or seen James Haskell, we need big ball carriers when it's tough and gritty."
The score is probably a fair reflection of play. England actually started quite brightly, but were suckered by that Ireland try and once the rain started falling, there was only one thing that was going to happen: arm-wrestle time. This is going to be tighter than the bark on a tree. Ireland, by the way, have only ever won by more than a single score at Twickenham once in history.
Clever from Hartley to Deacon at the front of the line-out - I apologise, Simon Shaw went off early clutching a shoulder - but Ireland have the put-in at the scrum. Heaslip is snagged by Care at the back of the set-piece, but Ireland kick an up-and-under and Armitage misses it under pressure from Bowe. O'Driscoll with the chip-through and that's good scrambling from Monye before Care nonchantly kicks into touch. That's half-time.
37 mins: PENALTY England 6-8 Ireland
Ireland going in from the side as England's line-out clicks at last, and Wilkinson slots a peach of a three-pointer. Some suggestions from the pundits that Wilko's
still standing too deep to receive the ball from Care, but his place-kicking appears to be functioning.
England's line-out is creaking, this time Borthwick tapping back into touch, and after a bright start from the hosts (other than that try, of course), Ireland are now looking the more in control. O'Connell barges through and loses the ball, and Ireland are penalised for off-side.
O'Leary kicks deep and Armitage swivels and kicks back... Earls scythes through the England defence from broken play, like a bat out of hell, kicks through and England have to thank Danny Care for his cover defence. Decent game this.
30 mins: PENALTY England 3-8 Ireland
Ireland burgle the England line-out and go wide. Ferris takes the ball up, and Dylan Hartley is penalised for ripping the ball out of Ferris's hand while on the floor. Ireland penalty and Sexton extends Ireland's lead by three.
O'Driscoll gives the ball some air and that's a great take by Earls. Sexton, however, opts to kick the ball straight into touch and it's England's ball. Box kick from Care, but that's a good field from Geordan Murphy, back in the side for the injured Rob Kearney. Turnover though, and Wilkinson sticks the ball down Murphy's neck again. Murphy skips through a couple of tackles, before Sexton dummies and loses the ball, which is suddenly like a bar of soap.
BBC summariser Austin Healey reckons Wilkinson is operating under poor conditions, in that Care's delivery hasn't been quick enough. Penalty against England, and Sexton is going to give this hammer from just inside his own half. This will be one hell of a kick in these conditions, it's lobbing it down in west London... just short...
England inflicting pain on the Ireland pack and loose-head Cian Healy is whistled for turning in. Wilkinson finds a good touch, England continue their territorial dominance. Borthwick wins the line-out and England go right. Easter with the rumble, before Flutey switches with Wilkinson at outside-half. Plenty of phases by England but no ground made, and Wilkinson ends up giving away possession with a sketchy long pass that's deemed to have gone forward.
Sexton gives it some air and Bowe comes haring up behind Monye and puts in an early hit - penalty England, as the man upstairs yanks his chain and the heavens open. Let's see how positive England are now.
17 mins: PENALTY England 3-5 Ireland
Quick tap and go from Care, and England win another penalty. Big hit by O'Driscoll on Flutey, he's got a point to prove after that beasting at the hands of Frenchman Bastareaud, before Wilkinson kicks the three-pointer. Positive start this from England, not sure why the Twickenham crowd are so subdued.
Slow ball from England, and Ireland have turned the ball over again... but England snatch it back and attack in waves. Good defence from Ireland though, and eventually Wilkinson chips through and gives away a drop-out 22. Dramatics from Armitage, claiming he's been charged, there's no need for that.
England go right and Monye makes some ground, but that's another Ireland turnover. Tait fields the box kick, goes right and Cueto takes the hit. Care snipes but is wrapped up, before Wilkinson, with a kick to nothing, has a pop at the drop-goal but misses. England penalty, Ireland offside at the ruck, but Wilkinson strikes the right upright.
England had been looking to move the ball early, but it will be interesting to see if they go back into their shell after that score. The Twickenham faithful have certainly gone into hiding, the only sound you can hear is a roar of "Ireland, Ireland..." Ireland scrum, England get a shove on, and Hayes is penalised for pulling down the set-piece. Fields of Athenry now, England's fans being buried.
Former England hooker Brian Moore on BBC One:
"England started with a lot of purpose but when it came down to it a turnover left them horribly exposed and it was simple hands from there. An intelligent decision to kick from Sexton set up Bowe to score."
4 mins: TRY England 0-5 Ireland
... and Ireland have scored a try. Bit too easy for the visitors to be honest, it was simply shipped down the line from the breakdown, Sexton chipped through and Bowe was on hand to score in the corner. Sexton pushes his conversion attempt wide, but what a start.
England put width on the ball and Cueto makes some ground down the right wing. Monye now down the other flank, and this is encouraging from England. Wilkinson shows and goes and is almost through. Phase upon phase from England, and they go wide again, Tait scrambling through, but Ireland do eventually turn it over...
South Africa's Mark Lawrence pings his whistle and Johnny Wilkinson gets us under way withj what appears to be a partial air shot - or did he mean that? Knock on by Paul O'Connell, that's a let off for England after a great take by Tommy Bowe under the high ball.
Hayes looks like he's going to go, but just manages to hold it together during Ireland's Call. Funnily enough, there's not a wobble from England's players during God Save The Queen, the English anthem is about as emotive as the theme from the Flumps.
John Hayes is given the honour of trotting out all on his own on the occasion of his 100th cap, he's the first Irishman to reach the milestone. And here come England, to this rather overblown portentous music they play at Twickenham. You half expect the ground to open up and wild animals to start leaping about the place. Anthems on their way, we'll have play in a few minutes.
Austin Healey on the telly reckons Wilkinson can only perform today if he gets decent ball from Danny Care, and you have to say the one fault in Care's game is his speed of delivery. Keith Wood and Jonathan Davies have gone for Ireland, Healey and Jerry Guscott have gone for England, although that's no great surprise.
wellpastit on 606:
"Ireland will have to be an awful lot better in their front row than they have been to gain parity with England. My prediction is an England win, but not by much. JW boot to do the damage."
proudleinsterman on 606:
"No doubts, Ireland will win today. They have shown over the last 14 months that they are a very good side. Ireland have too much skill, experience and character to misfire two games on the trot."
When England beat Ireland two years ago, a certain Danny Cipriani was the inspiration, but having opted to move to Melbourne at the end of the English season, he's very far from Martin Johnson's thoughts.
England have never failed to score a try in a Six Nations match at Twickenham, but if Johnny Wilkinson can't get his backline going today, that could change. Is that stat right? Wilkinson needs 15 points to overhaul Ronan O'Gara's all-time Six Nations record. O'Gara not playing today, instead they've gone with Johnny Sexton - his first Six Nations start, he scored 22 points for Leinster against Scarlets last weekend.
To Twickenham, where John Hayes is making his 100th appearance for Ireland. Go on Bull, 'tis your field. Ireland have won five of their six matches against England, but England won 33-10 last time they met at Twickenham, in 2008. Overall, England lead by 70 wins to 44, with eight draws. Apparently the first game took place at The Oval. The score? 0-0. And some people think rugby's boring now...
Man of the match Dan Parks:
"I don't know what it is, it's not as hard to take as losing to Wales, which was right at the end, but we had our chances and didn't take them - they had one chance and they took it. We came here expecting to do well on the back of performance last time, it was good in parts but very we're disappointed. We had a few scrums on the line and a line-out, teams are scoring at those opportunities, but we didn't.
Far be it for me to disagree with my TV colleagues, but I don't remember Scotland having that many chances. Certainly they had a lot of possession in Italy's 22, but that's not really the same as having chances. That said, Italy were horrible, in a good way, in defence, they never make it easy for visitors. Stick around for England v Ireland, that kicks off at 1600 GMT...
Board Stupid on 606:
"A gutless, uninspired performance from Scotland. You can't have the ball as often in the opposition's 22 as Scotland did and do as little. Battering ram tactics and little else won't open up a defence."
FULL-TIME: Italy 16-12 Scotland
And that's that: Italy win the penalty, and we have the bizarre sight of Italy's players hugging each other before the ball is even in touch. Massive win for Italy, poor performance by Scotland, you'd have to say that was a pretty fair result.
Scotland finally win the penalty after 16 Italy phases, but they've only got eight seconds left... the clock goes red, that spells danger for Scotland, and they win another penalty. Problem is, they need a try. Italy nick it, Ongaro races free, and then Mirco Bergamasco inconceivably kicks through rather than going for touch...
Canavosio goes on a sniping run as gaps begin to open up in the Scotland defence, but for the most part Italy are content to keep it tight and run down the clock. Eight phases, nine phases, this is agony for Scotland. Castrogiovanni rumbles, and you're not going to get the ball off him...
Gower's kick had the direction, but not the distance. De Luca carries the ball clear, but Nathan Hines very nearly gives up possession with a blind pass. But this time Italy have nicked the ball, it's their scrum, as it is announced Dan Parks is the man of the match... not sure about that, maybe if he pulls this one out of the fire...
Huge scrum by Italy, against the head, and Italy, at the second attempt, manage to get the ball clear. And now the hosts have a penalty bang on halfway, Barclay hanging onto the ball, and Gower is going to have a punt...
Ross Ford with the carry down the short side, but he's hauled down just short. Italy's defence defiant - Alan Jacobsen once more looks to burrow over, but this time he crashes down just short of the line. Another chance goes begging for Scotland, Jacobsen off injured, Murray to come back on. Could be a blessing in disguise, Dickinson will revert to loose-head, Murray his usual tight-head.
Penalty to Italy at the scrum - Dickinson, on for Murray at tight-head, penalised at his first scrum - and the hosts clear their lines. Castrogiovanni and Jacobsen burst in each others' faces, it's getting a bit spicy. Great kick from Parks, Scotland will have a line-out seven metres out.
Tremendous offload that from Canale, and at this level, the difference can so often be a single offload in the tackle. This time Blair manages to offload to Strokosch, before we have a break as two Italian players are treated for injuries.
67 mins: TRY Italy 16-12 Scotland
Gower hit by Lamont, but the Italy fly-half manages to find Mirco Bergamasco. Italy have only gone and scored a try! Canale goes bursting through midfield like a cannonball through the side of a galleon, and then he manages to offload off the floor to the onrushing Canavosio
, who touches down right under the posts. Mirco Bergamasco kicks the extras, Scotland are reeling.
64 mins: PENALTY Italy 9-12 Scotland
Danielli off, De Luca on... that's for Scotland, in case you were wondering... and Dan Parks
gives Scotland the lead for the first time in the match from pretty much in front of the posts.
Penalty to Scotland, Italy off their feet at the ruck... whistles all round in Rome, but the referee had that right, number 10 Gower the guilty man...
That's a cheeky little kick from Gower and Italy are in the Scotland 22. Italy with quick hands and Mirco Bergamasco pins his ears backs and hares down the left wing. He chips through, but Italy keep coming, this time Josh Sole gets a trot on... Scotland somehow turn it over from the resulting ruck, and Masi finds touch on the full to give the visitors a line-out just outside the Scotland 22.
To be fair, the game has at least opened up a bit, but there's still plenty of aimless kicking. McLean to Blair who kicks to touch...
Lamont marks in his own 22 and opts to run it out. Danielli chips and chases, and the Scotland wing is pinged by the referee for pushing McLean in the back. Silly, this game's not getting much better.
Apologies, I did of course mean to write DROP-GOAL below, but you will still see PENALTY unless you manually update the page... Max Evans wriggles through one or two tackles, before the ball goes left and Parks finds a good touch with another one of those round-house, goalkeeper kicks. Beattie and Cusiter off for the Scots, on come Strokosch and Blair.
Italy on the charge down the other end, McLean receiving the ball in acres of space after Danielli very nearly intercepts. Scotland scramble well, and Italy end up knocking on. Canavosio on for Tebaldi at scrum-half for Italy.
49 mins: DROP-GOAL Italy 9-9
Scotland win the penalty from the resulting scrum, and opt to take a scrum again - they've more than held their own in that department today. Cusiter finds Lamont, who can't quite get through... Lamont takes the ball again, but this time he's standing still and driven backwards, and Dan Parks ends up dropping a goal. They'd have wanted more return for all that pressure.
No try, looks like Mirco Bergamasco got his hands under that. Lots of upper-body strength throughout this Italy outfit... better from Scotland though, at least stringing some phases together.
Beattie steps through a tackle before Barclay punches a hole. Southwell with a half-break before Max Evans chips through... McLean sniffs out the danger, but Scotland get the ball back and soon Danielli is skipping down the left wing. Numbers right for Scotland, Hamilton charges through... prop Jacobsen ends up with the ball and burrows over the line... this one's going upstairs...
43 mins: PENALTY Italy 9-6 Scotland
Teams back out, Dan Parks gets the game back under way... steepler, but Bortolami hitches a lift and claims the high ball well. Useful touch from Parks, right over McLean's head. But Scotland give it away, and McLean puts them under pressure with an absolute peach into touch. Scotland take the quick one, but end up giving away a penalty. Hands in the ruck from Kellock, but that ball looked out to me... Mirco Bergamasco
slots it and Italy regain the lead...
eirebilly on 606:
"That could very easily have been a yellow card there for Josh Sole. Not the greatest of games so far to be honest."
Italy with a maul, before Tebaldi finds himself scuttling backwards, and there goes the half-time whistle. Very poor start from Scotland, but Dan Parks finally got a handle on things and if he can retain some semblance of control, they should be OK in the second half. I say 'should'...
Big rendition of Flower of Scotland - they reckon there are between 8-10,000 Scots in today - but Italy find a solid scrum and clear their lines. Danielli goes right and finds space before Beattie shrugs off a couple of tackles before being hauled down 10 metres short. Cynical from Josh Sole, coming in from the side to prevent Cusiter from getting the ball away... Parks skews his penalty kick wide. That should have been a try really, replays show Scotland had a three-on-two.
Scotland settling at last, this time Southwell finds a good touch with that big left boot of his. Parks sees acreage and finds another good touch on the Italy 22. Scotland steal at the back of the line-out and Barclay goes on the hoof. Morrison looks to find a gap, before Cusiter goes on a snipe... forward pass, Italy scrum.
33 mins: PENALTY Italy 6-6 Scotland
Scotland go wide before Max Evans puts Danielli in with an inside pass. This time it goes left, and lock Kellock receives it out on the left wing. Penalty for Scotland, Mauro Bergamasco lets Murray know what he thinks about it... two from two from Dan Parks
, Scotland level.
Scotland are really being outmuscled here more than anything else - Cusiter is forced to backpedal by Castrogiovanni, before Gower bamboozles Southwell with a chip through. Second row Geldenhuys pops up in midfield, before Italy kick the ball away. Scotland really need some possession, a few phases, but that is a top-class kick from Parks, finding touch five metres out from the Italian try-line. Italy take a quick one and clear their lines.
Tebaldi with the box-kick, Danielli is underneath it, and Italian wing Masi is penalised for a high tackle. Not much in it really, but Scotland are allowed to creep back into the Italian half.
Italy burgle the Scotland line-out now, but Beattie gives it away. Max Evans sparks the afterburners, but Zanni blocks his attempted pass. Another solid scrum from Scotland, but once again Italy turn the Scotland backs over. Very poor so far from the Scotland three-quarters, this time Sean Lamont has the ball torn from his grasp by Mauro Bergamasco.
22 mins: PENALTY Italy 6-3 Scotland
Parks starting to hit his straps, that's a lovely round-house kick into the Italian 22. And that's the first steal of the day, allowing Barclay to go on a stroll through the middle. Scotland win the penalty, and Dan Parks slots it from out right to get the Scots on the scoreboard.
Italy have had 69% territory so far and and 65% possession, which just about tells you all you need to know. Garcia misses the pass form Gower in midfield, so Canale is forced to kick, aimlessly. Sweet kick from Parks, Scotland need him to start playing.
Gower gives the ball some hammer, before Southwell takes the ball into contact. But that's another turnover, and Scotland find themselves back in their own 22. Superb work from Italy centre Garcia, ripping the ball from Southwell's grasp.
14 mins: PENALTY Italy 6-0 Scotland
Another penalty for Italy for hands in the ruck, and this one's straight in front. Skipper Ghiraldini summons Mirco Bergamasco again, and Italy double their lead. The Scots haven't had a sniff.
Box kick from Tebaldi. Hamilton picks up form the back of the ruck before lock Kellock goes on a charge. Italy have nicked it though and Mauro Bergamasco chips through... Parks is shoved aside, but that's good covering from Southwell who nonchalantly side-foots into touch.
10 mins: PENALTY Italy 3-0 Scotland
That penalty was just out of kickable range, so McLean kicked for touch. Tebaldi dummies and goes, but Scotland tight-head Euan Murray gives away the penalty for standing up in the scrum and Italy will take the kick at goal. Mirco Bergamasco makes no mistake from just right of the uprights.
The newly-shorn McLean with a fine take under his own posts. Beattie gets on a rumble, before Scotland spread it right. Ross Ford tries to take a short ball, but Italy steal it. Gower's kick is partially charged down, before Scotland are pinged for holding onto the ball.
Max Evans skips past a couple of tackles but spills and Italy nick the ball. Masi kicks for touch, but he carried that back into the 22 and it's a Scotland throw back from whence it came.
Scotland get a shove on at scrum-time and you don't see that very often, the Italian pack shifted backwards and the Scots win the penalty. Scotland kick for touch and win the shortened line-out.
Italy go left again after a John Beattie knock on, but Mirco Bergamasco muffs a catch and it's a scrum. Nervy, scrappy start, and you wouldn't have expected anything different.
Rome bouncing after the anthems, it's Italy to get us under way. Southwell sticks a long left boot over the head of Italy full-back McLean. Italy put width on it, before Mirco Bergamasco is hauled into touch.
The teams are on the pitch in Rome and the anthems are about to start. If there is a more rousing end to an anthem than that of Italy then I've yet to hear it. It is a lovely sunny day in the Eternal City and conditions are perfect for handling - although I suspect we'll see more of that from the Scots than from the hosts, albeit new fly-half Craig Gower seems intent on moving the ball more than some of his recent predecessors.
Scotland's match against Wales was marred by a serious neck injury to Thom Evans. Fortunately, after two operations, the wing is on his way to recovery and his brother Max, who starts in the centres in Rome, has vowed to "play for Thommy".
Scotland's recent Six Nations record is as bad as Italy's, with only two wins in their last 15 Six Nations matches, the most recent coming against Italy in last year's championship. However, both sides will take a fair degree of confidence into the game, with Italy having pushed England all the way last time out, and Scotland having deserved much more than they got after leading Wales until the dying seconds in Cardiff.
Italy remain unarguably the weakest of teams in the Six Nations and they go into the game on the back of an appalling run which has seen them win only one game in their last 16 Tests. They have also lost their last seven Six Nations matches but they have a respectable record against Scotland - four wins out of 10 matches is none too shabby.
London's archaic travel system means the splendidly named Ben Dirs, your regular creating pictures with wordsmith, is unavoidably delayed, so I'll keep you company until his limousine finally makes it.
For those who missed it, Friday night's match was another thriller in Cardiff, but whereas 13-man Scotland could not hold off the Welsh recovery two weeks ago, France had enough in the tank to keep the hosts at arm length, and also had the presence of mind to kick the ball dead when they restarted after Shane Williams's last-gasp try try. On paper Italy v Scotland does not look so enticing but the Scots are playing some vibrant rugby under Andy Robinson and they'll be hoping to claim their third away win against Italy in the Six Nations.
Afternoon all. After a night of drama in Cardiff, with Wales once again mounting a second half-fightback but this time failing to do what they did to Scotland and instead going down to France, we have two more Six Nations clashes to occupy you this afternoon. First up is Italy v Scotland in an encounter that has Wooden Spoon decider written all over it. After the Rome match we head across to London, where unbeaten England host Ireland at Twickenham. No doubt you all have plenty to say about how the day's action will pan out so get involved on 606 or via text on either 81111 i f you're in the UK or +44 7786200666 of you're elsewhere around the globe.