Italy snatch famous victory

A last-minute penalty try gave Italy a dramatic 22-19 win over Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

It was the Azzurri's first victory of the 2015 campaign, following losses to Ireland and England, while winless Scotland are now favourites for the wooden spoon.

The penalty try came shortly after replacement Scotland lock Ben Toolis had been yellow-carded for pulling down a maul. The Italians set up another maul, which the hosts collapsed again and referee George Clancy had no hesitation in running under the crossbar.

The Azzurri made a poor start to the match when Kelly Haimona's miss-timed pass to Sergio Parisse was picked up by Mark Bennett near halfway, with the Scotland centre racing away to score under the posts. Greig Laidlaw, who had opened the scoring with a penalty, slotted the conversion to make it 10-0.

But the visitors hit back when Joshua Furno went over from a maul for an unconverted try, before Laidlaw and Haimona exchanged penalties to make it 13-8 after 18 minutes.

Laidlaw then slotted his third penalty, with Haimona getting the opportunity to claw three back for Italy in the 37th minute. His kick came off the post, but Giovambattista Venditt followed up well and grounded the ball against the bottom of the upright. Haimona's conversion cut Scotland's lead to just one point at the break.

Italy should have hit the front in the 53rd minute, but replacement flyhalf Tommy Allan missed a penalty from straight in front.

Laidlaw made no mistake with his fourth penalty to make it 19-15, and the next time Italy had a kickable penalty, with eight minutes to go, they went for the corner. An excellent driving maul from the lineout saw the visitors held up over the line and they then won a penalty at the scrum. Italy chose to scrum again, and this time Scotland were awarded a penalty that allowed them to briefly relieve the pressure.

But the hosts' celebrations were short-lived as a yellow-card was followed shortly after by that dramatic penalty try at the death.

Scotland – Try: Mark Bennett. Conversion: Greig Laidlaw. Penalties: Laidlaw (4).
Italy – Tries: Josh Furno, Giovambattista Venditti, penalty try. Conversions: Kelly Haimona, Tommy Allan. Penalty: Haimona.

Scotland – 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Mark Bennett, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Subs: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Greig Tonks, 23 Matt Scott.

Italy – 15 Luke McLean, 14 Michele Visentin, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Enrico Bacchin, 11 Giovambattista Venditti, 10 Kelly Haimona, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Joshua Furno, 4 George Fabio Biagi, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Matias Aguero.
Subs: 16 Andrea Manici, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Samuela Vunisa, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Tommy Allan, 23 Giulio Bisegni.

Photo: Ian MacNichol/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt