Italy claimed a scrappy 16-12 Six Nations win over Scotland at Stadio Flaminio.
The visitors led 12-9 after 68 minutes, before Italy scored a rare long-range try. Centre Gonzalo Canale made the linebreak and burst into the Scottish 22 before being tackled and making a pop pass to replacement scrumhalf Pablo Canavosio, who scored under the posts.
Scotland rallied in the final 10 minutes and came desperately close to scoring when flank Kelly Brown was tackled inches short of the line.
Italy masterfully killed the clock in the dying stages of the match, taking the ball through 14 phases before being penalised at the breakdown. With time up, Scotland had one last chance to attack only to concede a penalty of their own that sparked wild celebrations in the crowd.
Italy had started the match well when wing Mirco Bergamasco slotted two simple penalties, but flyhalf Dan Parks revived Scotland with back to back kicks of his own.
Parks’ towering punts also kept Italy deep in their own half and under constant pressure, but while Scotland threatened the Italian line on several occasions, with prop Allan Jacobsen coming the closest, they couldn’t make it count.
The second half saw greater continuity from both backlines, but while Scotland had the bulk of the ball for the third quarter of the game, they couldn’t get over the line.