Classic Match: Italy storm to first-ever away win

As we take a trip down memory lane to celebrate classic Six Nations matches, Italy’s first-ever away win is a stand-out highlight from 2007.

As we take a trip down memory lane to celebrate classic Six Nations matches, Italy’s first-ever away win is a stand-out highlight from 2007.

A fast start and a powerful finish saw Pierre Berbizier’s side down Scotland at BT Murrayfield and set up an historic Championship for the Azzurri.   SETTING THE SCENE   There had not been many indicators that Italy on the verge of something special in the opening round of games when they shipped six tries to France at home in a 39-3 defeat.

Sébastien Chabal bagged a brace while Andrea Scanavacca – more on him later – went off injured.

Scotland meanwhile were downed by a Jonny Wilkinson-inspired England at Twickenham while in round two they bounced back to beat Wales 21-9 – every point coming from the boot of Chris Paterson.

Italy meanwhile arrived in Edinburgh still chasing a first victory of the year, in round two England had been their conquerors in a 20-7 defeat.

But there were signs that the Italians were coming to the boil in that game as they more than matched the world champions for large parts.   THE TEAMS   Scotland kept an unchanged back line from the one that helped beat Wales in the previous round.

Hugo Southwell, Sean Lamont and Chris Paterson made up the back three with Rob Dewey and Marcus Di Rollo in the centres and Phil Godman and Chris Cusiter again reunited at half-back.

Up front Dougie Hall came in at hooker for Ross Ford while Nathan Hines replaced Jim Hamilton in the second row but the back row of Simon Taylor, Kelly Brown and David Callam was re-united.

Italy meanwhile made what proved to be some clairvoyant changes, Andrea Masi replacing Denis Dallan on the left wing while Alessandro Zanni and Mauro Bergamasco both came into the back row either side of the immovable Sergio Parisse.   HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED   The match was all about the first six minutes as Scotland were their own worst enemies.

The game had barely begun when Godman’s chip was charged down and returned for a try by Mauro Bergamasco.

And then it was the turn of Godman’s half-back partner Cusiter to gift Italy points, the No.9 throwing two interceptions – one short, one long – as first Scanavacca and then Kaine Robertson burst onto the loose balls and made it 21-0 inside six minutes.

Scotland deserved real credit for fighting back from their kamikaze start and it was 24-17 after an hour, Dewey and Paterson both crossing for the hosts.

But the boot of Scanavacca and a late try from Alessandro Troncon sealed a first-ever away win, 37-17, for the Azzurri in the famous old Championship.   WHAT THEY SAID   Scotland head coach Frank Hadden:  “I wanted a fast tempo at the start to get the crowd on the edge of their seats and start the game in a way which would make the game difficult for their rushing defence.

“You have to chip, you have to slow down the rushing defence. Sadly the execution went absolutely pear-shaped.”   Pierre Berbizier, who never won at Murrayfield in a decade playing with France, said: “For the fans and the players this was a dream. Now it is a reality. We will have to wait and see what this does for Italian rugby but today it was an important step.

“It is a big day for us. It was a great victory for us. To win here at Murrayfield is a big memory for Italian rugby.

“You work and work and sometimes you get a result. For us it is very important because it means we can face the future with serenity.”   Troncon added “This is the result of a lot of work. We have played well and I think today is the start of a new era for us.

“For me it is a great day. Two weeks ago I was man-of the-match (against England) but today I have won with my team. I am happy for Italian rugby.”   WHAT HAPPENED NEXT   The history kept coming for Italy, who backed up this victory with another in round four.

Wales came to Rome but were sent packing by the Azzurri who won two matches in a single Championship for the first time in their history.

The Scots would have their revenge later in the year however, downing Italy in the pool stages of the World Cup 18-16 in a tight clash that could have gone either way.

That year’s Six Nations ended up being won by France on points difference from Ireland – who had to settle for a Triple Crown in the end.   Scotland 17 Italy 37   Scotland Tries: Dewey, Paterson Conversions: Paterson 2 Penalties: Paterson   Italy Tries: Ma Bergamasco, Scanavacca, Robertson, Troncon Conversions: Scanavacca 4 Penalties: Scanavacca 3   Scotland: Southwell; Lamont, Di Rollo, Dewey, Paterson; Godman, Cusiter; Callam, Brown, Taylor, S Murray, Hines, E Murray, Hall, Kerr.  Replacements: Ford, Jacobsen, Hamilton, Hogg, Lawson, Henderson, Walker.   Italy: De Marigny; Robertson, Canale, Mirco Bergamasco, Masi; Scanavacca, Troncon; Parisse, Mauro Bergamasco, Zanni, Bortolami, Dellape, Castrogiovanni, Festuccia, Lo Cicero.  Replacements: Ongaro, Perugini, Nieto, Bernabo, Zaffiri, Griffen, Pez.   Referee: Donal Courtney (Leinster)