Scotland extend win streak against Italy

·2-min read

Scotland came from behind to beat Italy 28-17 and extend their longest winning streak since 2011 in their Autumn Nations Cup opener.

Italy hadn't won in more than a year but started with a passion on Saturday that Scotland could barely handle, deservedly taking a 17-14 lead into the last quarter.

Yet Scotland gradually earned more ball and made the pressure count as they earned a fifth straight win.

They grabbed a decisive lead with 12 minutes left when a kickable penalty was waived and their ambition paid off with lock Scott Cummings crashing over for a converted try.

Scotland's first scrum penalty led to another lineout maul from which carried replacement hooker George Turner to the line and a bonus-point fourth try.

Flyhalf Duncan Weir, making his first start for Scotland in four-and-a-half years, converted all four and had a try disallowed.

Scotland's run of five straight wins started with a 17-0 victory over Italy in Rome in February.

Yet that was a poor quality affair. This one was not. Italy were powerful in the scrums, prop Danilo Fischetti was also a menace in the breakdowns, and Scotland struggled to breathe.

Italy earned a halftime lead for the first time since the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year, but it was a narrow one at 11-7.

Flyhalf Paolo Garbisi kicked two early penalties while Scotland lost in-form prop Rory Sutherland to a knee injury.

Scotland could rely on their lineout maul for a platform, and winger Duhan van der Merwe slashed through the Italian defence near the tryline to score.

Virtually from the kick-off, Italy responded with fullback Matteo Minozzi finishing off a wonderful team try in the left corner. Garbisi's conversion hit the right upright.

Garbisi padded the lead with a third penalty in the second half but Scotland was finally starting to assert itself.

Weir had a try disallowed because the last pass by Sam Johnson was forward.

But Scotland came again in bizarre circumstances. Flanker Hamish Watson's pass off the floor was tapped back by Italy No.8 Jake Polledri and caught by prop Zander Fagerson.

Because he looked offside, Italy stopped and let Fagerson stroll over untouched. But video replays confirmed the try was legit.

After Scotland captain Stuart Hogg misjudged and carried the ball over his tryline, Italy forced another penalty and Garbisi slotted it for 17-14 before Scotland's final flourish.