Hogg hails record-breaking Scots as Italy suffer Murrayfield mauling

By Sports Desk March 20, 2021

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg hailed "a hell of a performance" but still felt his team could have bagged more points after they pummelled Italy 52-10 at Murrayfield.

The rampant Scots topped 50 points for the first time against the Azzurri and also clinched their biggest margin of victory in the rivalry between the teams.

They ran in eight tries and Hogg overcame early misfiring to finish with six conversions, having been pressed into action at fly-half in the absence of Finn Russell.

Defeats in Edinburgh earlier in the championship had knocked Scotland out of contention, with a 25-24 loss to Wales followed by a 27-24 setback against Ireland.

The Scots showed their capabilities by beating England at Twickenham, however, and they will finish their campaign against France in Paris on Friday.

Hogg told the BBC: "I think all week we talked about having a big reaction and showing a performance that represented us.

"At times we probably lacked that clinical edge and we didn't score as many as we'd like to, but I am chuffed to bits with that. The boys put in a hell of a performance and that's where we want to be.

"We've had a huge amount of confidence from the very beginning of this Six Nations. It's just the little things that have killed us and that's the things that have annoyed us.

"We've been in every single game and we've scored 24 points in the last two games and managed to come away with defeats, so that's been bitterly disappointing.

"Today, that was more like us. We know we can throw the ball around and have some fun and hopefully that gives us a big boost ahead of next week as well."

Flanker Hamish Watson made 21 carries and was named man of the match.

Because Italy scored the game's first try, Watson admitted there had been early jitters in the Scotland ranks. But three yellow cards for Italy players made Scotland's task all the more comfortable.

"We were a bit worried at the start," Watson said. "We probably took our time to get into it a bit, but when we did I thought we did really well and we were clinical when we got the ball. I thought it was a good performance by us overall.

"We said earlier in the week that we were pretty gutted after the last two home defeats and we needed to put it right today and I think we did that.

"Italy always come here with a lot of ambition and they're a very aggressive team. We knew it was going to be tough for the first 10 or 20 minutes, then we had to build into the game. It's nice to get a good scoreline as well."

Italy captain Luca Bigi, who scored that early try, saw his team complete another championship of five consecutive defeats.

They have now lost 32 matches in a row in the Six Nations, and Bigi said: "It was a tough championship. We are so far from where we want to be.

"Obviously we cannot compete with three yellow cards so discipline was a key of this game. Scotland played an outstanding game.

"We will keep working. We have to be focused on what we can control and discipline is one of those things. It's a tough moment for us, but we never give up."

Related items

  • Raspadori rewarded for Serie A form with inclusion in first Italy squad Raspadori rewarded for Serie A form with inclusion in first Italy squad

    Sassuolo forward Giacomo Raspadori is in line for an Italy debut after Roberto Mancini named him in an initial 33-man squad ahead of Euro 2020.

    On the day Mancini extended his contract until after the 2026 World Cup, the Azzurri head coach confirmed a first group to face San Marino in a May 28 friendly.

    Italy have to trim that selection to 26 men for the rescheduled European Championship finals, with a second warm-up fixture following against the Czech Republic on June 4.

    Raspadori will hope he can impress Mancini in order to play a part having come to the fore for Sassuolo since the March international break.

    The 21-year-old had a goal and an assist across just 110 minutes in the European Under-21 Championship group stage during that period, having only made his Italy U21 bow in September.

    Raspadori has since scored five goals in nine Serie A games for Sassuolo, netting with 31.3 per cent of his shots at a rate of one every 127 minutes. He had only a single goal in 18 league matches prior to this run.

    The forward joins the usual established Azzurri stars, including Marco Verratti, Ciro Immobile and Leonardo Bonucci.


    Italy squad in full:

    Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino); Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Alessandro Florenzi (Paris Saint-Germain), Manuel Lazzari (Lazio), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta); Nicolo Barella (Inter), Gaetano Castrovilli (Fiorentina), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Matteo Pessina (Atalanta), Stefano Sensi (Inter), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain); Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Vincenzo Grifo (Freiburg), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Moise Kean (Paris Saint-Germain), Matteo Politano (Napoli), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo).

  • Mancini extends Italy deal until after 2026 World Cup Mancini extends Italy deal until after 2026 World Cup

    Roberto Mancini has been given a significant vote of confidence by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) after signing a new contract that will keep him in charge of Italy until after the 2026 World Cup.

    Mancini was appointed in May 2018, taking over from caretaker manager Luigi Di Biagio after he had replaced Gian Piero Ventura the previous November.

    Ventura had failed to guide Italy to the 2018 World Cup, the Azzurri losing out to Sweden in a play-off.

    It was the first World Cup Italy had missed since 1958 and forced the FIGC into a serious rethink before turning to Mancini, one of the nation's most-respected coaches.

    He was initially appointed only until 2020, with an automatic extension to be granted upon qualification for Euro 2020, which Italy duly achieved with three matches to spare.

    That triggered a two-year extension to run until after the 2022 World Cup, but the FIGC is seemingly so impressed with Mancini that they have deemed him worthy of a long-term deal.

    Speaking at the end of the FIGC's federal council meeting, president Gabriele Gravina is quoted by ANSA as saying: "It is an investment of the federation for the future, and one that we owed to the fans.

    "I am very happy, because as Roberto knows, it was an objective of the federation to continue this job and give it continuity in the future."

    Mancini, who was also in attendance, added: "I am very happy, I thank the Federation and I thank the president.

    "We have extended the contract, there will be many events and as the president said it is not easy to win, but we are trying to carry out a job that was started three years ago, which up to now has given good results.

    "We have many young players to focus on, especially in the youth national teams, so our hope is that this work can bear fruit very quickly, we are very positive."

    Mancini's Italy broke a longstanding national team record in November 2019 as they won 10 consecutive matches with a 3-0 result against Bosnia-Herzegovina, the streak eventually ending at 11.

    They won all of their Euro 2020 qualifiers and their 10 victories in 2019 set a new record for the most wins in a calendar year for the national team.

    Italy were drawn into Group A for the Euros, which start next month, meaning they will face Turkey, Wales and Switzerland for the right to reach the knockout phase.

  • All Blacks great Read retires from rugby All Blacks great Read retires from rugby

    All Blacks great Kieran Read has retired from rugby.

    Read had said he would end his career at the end of the Japan Top League season, and his Toyota Verblitz side suffered a 48-21 semi-final defeat against the Panasonic Wild Knights on Sunday.

    In a post on social media, Read said: "I'm looking forward to returning to New Zealand and spending time with my family."

    "Thank you to the @toyotaverblitz team for the friendships I will hold onto for my lifetime, it's been a challenging time for everyone involved but proud of the direction we are heading," Read wrote on Instagram. 

    "Also, a massive thanks to all the fans of rugby in Japan for your support."

    Read was part of two New Zealand World Cup-winning sides, earning 127 caps for the All Blacks to put him third all-time in that regard. Richie McCaw tops the list with 148 Test caps.

    He played 52 of his Tests as skipper and was the 66th captain of New Zealand. Only McCaw (110) made more appearances as captain of the All Blacks.

    With 107 victories, Read is one of only five players to win 100 Test matches, along with fellow All Blacks McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock and Sam Whitelock.

    His run of 19 consecutive victories as All Blacks captain from 2012 to 2016 is a record.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.