Italy fight back for famous victory over Scotland in Rome

March 10, 2024 6:48 am

[Source: Reuters]

Winger Louis Lynagh made himself an instant hero with a try on debut as Italy rallied to secure a famous 31-29 win over Scotland in a dramatic Six Nations clash and put a huge dent in their opponents’ championship hopes.

It is a first win for Italy over Scotland in nine years, and a first home success in the Six Nations in 11, since they finished fourth in 2013 with victories over France and Ireland, underlining their improvement under new Argentine coach Gonzalo Quesada.

The son of former Australia great Michael Lynagh was born in Italy and his try, along with scores from centre Ignacio Brex and replacement scrumhalf Stephen Varney, helped Italy come from 22-16 down at halftime.

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“We have done amazing preparation, we worked so hard and working a lot on our details,” Italy captain Michele Lamaro told ITV. “Today we gave everything and I couldn’t be prouder.

“I believe 100% this team can play games like this, we proved it two weeks ago (against France) and we proved it now.

“We still have to improve a lot, but to bring back a win in Rome is unbelievable.”

Scotland dominated the early stages, scoring tries through props Zander Fagerson and Pierre Schoeman and winger Kyle Steyn, but thereafter made numerous errors and could only manage a late score from lock Sam Skinner in the remainder of the game.

Italy forced that pressure with a heroic display and made up to a degree for their 13-13 draw with France last time out when flyhalf Paolo Garbisi missed a kick at the end of the game to win it.

Scotland have 11 points from four Six Nations games, four behind leaders Ireland, who can sew up the championship later on Saturday when they play England at Twickenham.

Gregor Townsend’s side will still be playing for the Triple Crown next weekend when they travel to Dublin for their final game.

“The players started well and finished well. We lost our discipline and gave Italy opportunities – that is the most disappointing aspect,” Townsend said.

“We need to improve next week. We have an even tougher game playing a top team and if we are inaccurate and ill-disciplined, it’ll cost us.”

Italy, who claimed a first Six Nations victory since they won in Wales in the final game of the 2022 tournament, are fourth with seven points.


Garbisi had an early penalty chance and, in a carbon copy of his heart-breaking miss against France, almost ran out of time before slotting it over with a wry smile on his face.

The ball fell off the tee again and Scotland players had to be warned not to charge the kick and Garbisi converted with under 10 seconds remaining on the shot clock.

Scotland then took control and put together 18 phases before Fagerson powered over and Steyn crossed following more adventurous rugby with ball in hand.

Italy needed a response and got it with a superb score.

Scrumhalf Martin Page-Relo chipped a perfectly-weighted kick behind the defence and Brex was able to gather and go in under the posts.

Scotland grabbed a third try as a brilliant 50-22 from flyhalf Finn Russell set up an attacking lineout and Schoeman powered over.

Russell failed with the conversion, his first miss in this year’s Six Nations, and one that proved crucial in the final result.

A long-range penalty from Page-Relo kept Italy in the contest as Scotland led 22-16 at halftime following a breathless first 40 minutes, but the momentum had swung in their favour.

Garbisi’s superb grubber kick early in the second half was perfect for Lynagh to gather and score and, roared on by a sell-out crowd at the Stadio Olympico, Italy hit the front when Varney crossed the tryline.

Scotland managed to earn two bonus points for their four tries and getting to within seven points of Italy thanks to Skinner’s late score.