Paterson kicks Scotland to late victory
March 18, 2006
Chris Paterson lands the winning penalty in Rome
© Getty Images
Chris Paterson kicked Scotland to their first away victory in the RBS 6 Nations Championship for nearly four years with a late penalty to defeat Italy at the Stadio Flaminio.
Scotland«s last win in the Six Nations was in Cardiff in 2002 and on their last visit to Rome they crashed to a 20-14 defeat.
But Frank Hadden has revitalised the side since he took over last summer and this success on the road comes on the back of famous Murrayfield triumphs over France and England.
Paterson was the hero on the field, not only keeping his cool to kick the last-gasp penalty but also crossing for Scotland«s try and adding the conversion, while Gordon Ross dropped a goal just before half-time.
Italy, who took the lead in the sixth minute through Mirco Bergamasco, looked to have salvaged a draw when Ramiro Pez levelled matters midway through the second half.
They are now consigned to the wooden spoon again though, despite making progress under new coach Pierre Berbizier this season, including claiming their first ever Six Nations point away from the Eternal City.
Scott Lawson, in for Dougie Hall at the problem position of hooker, started well, an accurate throw securing Scotland possession at the first line-out, but moments later Hugo Southwell«s attempted clearance was charged down in his own 22.
Italy had numbers on their left side but a knock-on from Bergamasco ended what could have been a dangerous move.
The Azzurri maintained their early pressure thanks to some clever kicking from Pez, though, and that superiority was rewarded in the sixth minute.
Veteran stand-off Pez«s chip over the top was collected by Bergamasco and he crashed over from close range, the Perpignan number 10 adding the simple conversion.
Scotland were dealt another early blow when Chris Cusiter was forced off with a shoulder injury - his recall lasting less than 10 minutes - to to be replaced by Mike Blair.
The Edinburgh scrum-half was immediately involved, darting from the base of a ruck to be held up just short but, after a tremendous clean-out by Nathan Hines, Paterson picked up and dived over.
Paterson added the extras to draw his side level and moments later the Edinburgh winger was bundled into touch a couple of yards short of a second try after a terrific move down the left with Sean Lamont.
Like Cusiter, Cristian Stoica«s return to the side was brief as the veteran Montpellier back hobbled off after 20 minutes to be replaced by Parma«s Ezio Galon.
Scotland were certainly on the offensive for the second part of the first half but some unforced errors - notably a knock-on from Jason White - hampered their efforts to seize the lead.
In the final seconds of the half the visitors did take the lead when Ross dropped a goal from just 15 yards to edge his side ahead at the interval.
Scotland started the second period extremely sloppily, first allowing a ball to bounce in their own 22 which should have been swallowed up and then Lamont almost gifting the home side a try.
The Northampton winger attempted to flick the ball back to Blair just inside his 22 but Pablo Canavosio got to it first and only a fine tackle from Lamont and the ball being knocked forward as the Italy flyer tried to pass to Pez preserved Scotland«s lead.
Berbizier freshened up his pack within 15 minutes of the second period as Andrea Lo Cicero and Alessandro Zanni entered the fray and Hadden responded by bringing prop Craig Smith on for Bruce Douglas.
Scotland immediately conceded a penalty for an infringement in the scrum, with Lawson looking the guilty party, and Pez made no mistake to draw his side level.
Italy sensed another victory in Rome over Scotland and Berbizier sent Carlo Festuccia on instead of Fabio Ongaro to further fire the front front-row battle, as well as lock Carlo Antonio Del Fava.
Hadden replaced Ross, who had done little wrong, with Parks.
And the Scotland coach also substituted Scott Murray, equalling Gordon Bulloch as his country«s most capped forward with 75, with Alastair Kellock.
Italy were looking the more likely to claim the lead and it took splendid scrambling defence from the Scots - notably from Hines - to keep an aggressive Bergamasco run at bay.
That move had come from a loose Lamont pass and it was clearly one too many for Hadden«s liking as he immediately replaced him with Simon Webster.
A big hit from White caused a turnover for Scotland in the 76th minute and Italy were penalised as they tried to retrieve possession.
Paterson stepped up and from just inside the home side«s half kicked Scotland to victory with little over two minutes remaining.