Hooker Ross Ford scored a brace as Scotland defeated Italy 34-13 in Singapore on Saturday.
While Scotland scored five tries to two to record a resounding victory, they were frustrated by the Azzurri in the first half. It took a three-try blitzkrieg in four minutes, either side of the interval, for them to finally break the shackles.
Flyhalves Finn Russell and Tommy Allan traded penalty kicks early on to make it 3-3. Scotland’s superbly created try-scoring opportunities were curbed by Italy’s solid defence, and it was only in the 39th minute that they were rewarded when scrumhalf Ali Price darted through the first attempted tackle and flummoxed the last defender with a dummy pass to score.
Wing Tim Visser then latched on to a kick behind the defensive line to give Scotland a 15-3 lead at half-time, and Ford barged over from the back of a rolling maul early in the second half.
Ford grabbed his second try from open play, and while Italy struck back with a try by centre Michele Campagnaro against the run of play, a yellow card to replacement Braam Steyn for a dangerous tackle cost them dearly.
Young centre Damien Hoyland ran in Scotland’s fifth try to seal the victory, before Italy wing Angelo Esposito scored a consolation try.
Scotland – Tries: Ali Price, Tim Visser, Ross Ford (2), Damien Hoyland. Conversions: Duncan Taylor, Finn Russell, Peter Horne. Penalty: Russell.
Italy – Tries: Michele Campagnaro, Angelo Esposito. Penalty: Tommy Allan.
Italy – 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Tommaso Boni, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Edoardo Gori (c), 8 Robert Julian Barbieri, 7 Maxime Mata Mbanda, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Subs: 16 Ornel Gega, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Andries van Schalkwyk, 20 Abraham Steyn, 21 Marcello Violi, 22 Carlo Cane, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti.
Scotland – 15 Duncan Taylor, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 John Hardie, 6 John Barclay (c), 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Dell.
Subs: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Ryan Wilson, 22 Henry Pyrgos, 23 Peter Horne.
Photo: Roslan Rahman/Getty Images