Duhan van der Merwe scored two tries to propel Scotland to a record 52-10 victory over a hapless Italian side at Murrayfield.
Matchflow: Italy made a fast start to the game and put the home side under pressure in the opening stages. Hooker Luca Bigi crossed the tryline off the back of a strong rolling maul to hand Franco Smith’s Azzuri an early lead. Scotland did not take long to hit back, however, with their own hooker David Cherry also scoring from a rolling maul.
Van der Merwe finished off a beautiful sweeping play to put the Scots into the lead before further tries from Darcy Graham and Huw Jones solidified a commanding lead heading into half time. The second half was one-way traffic with Scotland pulling away.
Cherry’s second tried sealed Italy’s fate before scrumhalf Scott Steele, centre Sam Johnson and Van der Merwe all crossed the whitewash to make the scoreline even more emphatic. Italy’s discipline was concerning as they gave away three yellow cards, two of which were for dangerous tackles.
Key player: Van der Merwe oozed class and was at at his abrasive best for Scotland. The blond behemoth scored in both halves and made as many as 13 tackle busts, creating plenty of half breaks and keeping the Italian defence busy all game. Van der Merwe has now scored six times in nine starts for Scotland with a very real chance he could be included in Warren Gatland’s Lions squad.
Key moment: In forgettable day for Italy, Monty Ioane did produce one moment of magic. With Scotland on attack in Italy’s 22 a floated pass went wide to the diminutive Darcy Graham, who was promptly tackled into next week by the flying Ioane. He had superbly read the play, producing a text-book tackle with perfect technique.
Italy – Tries: Cherry (2), Van der Merwe (2), Graham, Jones, Steele, Johnson. Conversions: Hogg (6).
Scotland – Try: Bigi. Conversion: Garbisi. Penalty: Garbisi.