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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 March, 2003, 16:50 GMT
Scotland edge fierce Italy
MATCH SUMMARY
Winger Kenny Logan
Scotland 33
Tries: White, McLaren, Logan, Paterson
Con: Paterson (2)
Pen: Paterson (3)
Italy 25
Tries: Bergamasco, Pez, Palmer
Con: Pez (2)
Pen: Pez (2)

Scotland 33-25 Italy

Scotland gave coach Ian McGeechan the perfect Six Nations send-off with a hard fought but entertaining victory over Italy on Saturday.

The former Lions coach, who began his home championship career as centre for Scotland in 1973, retires at the end of the season.

And the Scottish team made sure he left Murrayfield smiling, thanks to tries from Jason White, James McLaren, Kenny Logan and Chris Paterson.

Italy hit back through Mirco Bergamasco, Ramiro Pez and Scott Palmer but the home side held out to secure fourth position in the Six Nations table.

The Azzurri started superbly and touched over with less than five minutes on the clock.

Alessandro Troncon made the best of some quick recycled ball inside the Scotland 22 and Bergamasco's strong run gave the home side a quick reality check.

Pez failed with the extras, before the two fly-halves swapped penalties.

Scotland finally found their composure and when Bryan Redpath opted to take a quick free-kick on the Italy 10 metre line, White powered over taking most of the visiting defence with him.

At 8-8 and with an inspired Logan cutting the visitors to shreds, it was no surprise when McGeechan's team finally grabbed the lead.

We are getting better and it's sad the tournament has ended now
Kenny Logan

Another Logan run sent Italy backwards and Gregor Townsend's long, floated pass gave McLaren space to grab his fifth international try.

Paterson's second penalty lifted Scotland eight points clear, but a moment of genius from Pez caught the Scottish defence sleeping.

A show of the ball from the Rotherham number 10 was enough to send him underneath the posts and his conversion cut the deficit to just one point.

With both sides willing to play some free-flowing rugby in the afternoon sun, Logan improved on his already impressive performance just before the break.

Taking a quick tap penalty the Wasps veteran burst through four Italian tackles for a vital try that Paterson improved on in front of the posts.

James McLaren
James McLaren touches over for Scotland's second
Try-scorer White limped off after the break to be replaced by Ross Beattie, as Italy started to dominate possession.

For 10 minutes the visitors bombarded the Scotland line and they were rewarded with a straightforward penalty in front of the posts.

The five-point deficit set up an intense final quarter.

But when Simon Taylor released Paterson after striding away superbly from the back of the scrum, it secured some vital breathing space.

Paterson did well to finish off the move with a delicate chip and chase and then slotted the conversion but the 12 point lead did not last long.

We're disappointed we didn't come away with a win
Italy coach John Kirwan
As they have done all season, Italy finished the match on top and with just 10 minutes to go replacement back-rower Palmer strode over for the visitors' final seven pointer.

With the match in the balance, Paterson added his third penalty in injury time to dampen Italy's hopes and ultimately relegate them to fifth place in the championship table.


Scotland: G Metcalfe; C Paterson, J McLaren, A Craig, K Logan, G Townsend, B Redpath (capt); T Smith, G Bulloch, B Douglas, S Murray, N Hines, J White, S Taylor, A Mower.

Replacements: R Russell, G Kerr, S Grimes, R Beattie, M Blair, G Ross, K Utterson.

Italy : M Bergamasco; P Vaccari, A Masi, G Raineri, D Dallan , R Pez, A Troncon (capt); A Lo Cicero C Festuccia, R Martinez, C Bezzi, M Giacheri, A De Rossi, A Persico, M Phillips.

Replacements: F Ongaro, L Castrogiovanni, S Dellape, S Palmer, M Mazzantini, G Peens, N Mazzucato.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Scotland's Kenny Logan
"We can build on that performance"



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