Late show sinks Italy

Late Paterson show sinks Italy
By Reuters

18/03/2006 at 16:16Updated

Scotland's Chris Paterson kicked a late penalty to beat Italy 13-10 in a free-flowing Six Nations match on Saturday. Italy were on top for long periods of a game, especially in the second half, but Scotland held on for their third victory of the season.

Ahead 10-7 at halftime after a try by Paterson, which the winger also converted, and a drop goal by flyhalf Gordon Ross, the Scots had to wait until the 78th minute before sealing their first win on the road since they beat the Azzurri 29-12 in 2002.

Italy's points in a free-flowing game were scored by centre Mirco Bergamasco, his third try of the tournament, and flyhalf Ramiro Pez who kicked the rest.

Scotland end with three wins and six points. Italy take the wooden spoon, with one point, despite leading during the second half of all their previous four games and dominating the second half against Scotland.

"I think we were always in control of the game and deserved the win," said Scotland coach Frank Hadden. "Italy have made so much progress this year and, to be honest, I think they have played better than us in this championship."

Italy's early pressure paid off in the fifth minute when they won a line-out five metres from the opposition line.

As Italy's forwards probed for a gap in Scotland's defence, the ball fell to Pez, who sent up a delicate chip for Bergamasco who powered over.

The Scots drew level six minutes later after a panicky kick by scrumhalf Paul Griffen gave them a line-out inside Italy's 22.

The pack pushed to within a couple of metres of the line and when the ball popped up suddenly from a mass of bodies, Paterson dived over for an opportunistic try.

Both sides had chances to retake the lead. Paterson came within a whisker of going over before two Italy players tackled him while at the other end only a last-ditch challenge by Mike Blair prevented Bergamasco capping a superb chip-and-charge.

Italy's cause was not helped by an erratic performance by Pez whose wayward kick just before the break gave the Scots the line-out from which Ross slotted over the drop goal that sent them in with a halftime lead.

Italy had regrouped when they re-emerged and wasted a great chance to go ahead five minutes after the restart.

A Scottish fumble allowed Pablo Canavosio to seize possession close to the line, but the winger spotted Pez too late and his scruffy pass was knocked on by the flyhalf.

Pez made up for his mistakes in the 58th minute when he brought the Azzurri level with a penalty just inside the Scottish half as Italy dominated possession.

Having battled for so long, Italy were eventually undone by prop Andrea Lo Cicero, who held on to the ball on the ground to concede a penalty which Patterson kicked between the posts.