Fabio Schiabel went over for a dramatic try with the final play of the game as Italy snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a magnificent comeback in their U18 Six Nations festival opener against Scotland.
Scotland appeared to have done more than enough to secure victory when they opened up an 18-7 second-half lead, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Harry Patterson.
The wing crossed for a stunning first-half score and kicked two second half penalties for the Scots at Hartpury College in the third match of the opening day.
But in the final moments, the Azzurri produced a stirring finish and tries from Andrea Pancini and Schiabel sealed a famous win over Scotland – the champions last year.
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The Italians downed England last year in the inaugural festival and made it clear they were back and meant business with the opening score.
A wonky Scotland lineout fell into the hands of Tommaso Di Bartolomeo and the powerful hooker did the rest to get over from close range.
Scotland responded well when Matt Currie went over by the posts, well fed by Jamie Dobie and then hit the front after Patterson’s sublime solo score.
It was 12-7 at the interval and in the second period Patterson drilled two penalties to make it 18-7.
Italy had lost Tommaso Menoncello to the sin bin but when restored to their full complement gave everything in the final minutes to reverse the scoreline.
They had dominated Scotland at the set-piece all day and finally their attack clicked, despite valiant late Scotland defence on the line.
Pancini burst over from close range after Italy were initially held up and then at the death Lorenzo Cannone led an Italy breakout that ended with replacement Schiabel going over.
Mattia Ferrarin missed with the extras but it mattered not, the clock was red and Italy could celebrate a famous 19-18 win.