Scotland now eye France scalp

Italy 20 Scotland 36: Jason O’Halloran hopes Scotland can shake off their mental shackles after finally halting their long RBS 6 Nations losing streak.

The Scotland backs coach watched his side stun Italy with two early tries before Tommy Seymour’s late score put the seal on a 36-20 victory in Rome.

It was the Scots’ first win in the competition for two years.

O’Halloran admitted he was worried the team’s self-belief had plummeted after losing their opening two games to England and Wales.

But with that run of misery now behind Vern Cotter’s team, O’Halloran wants to see Scotland now march into their next clash with France at Murrayfield in two weeks’ time with a swagger.

The Kiwi said: “Hopefully a win will liberate us a bit. We can get rid of a few of those mental demons we’ve been carrying around with us.

“We were under the pump at times but came through with a decent margin of victory.”

Flankers John Barclay and John Hardie both dived over for Scotland inside the opening 17 minutes and skipper Greig Laidlaw’s near-flawless kicking display with 21 points from a possible 24 ensured the Azzurri were held at bay.

There were concerns when Leonardo Ghiraldini and Marco Fuser crossed for the hosts.

But Seymour’s late score — at a time when Scotland were again a man light after prop WP Nel’s yellow card — put the result beyond doubt, allowing Cotter’s group to breath a huge sigh of relief as a repeat of last year’s whitewash was avoided.

Scorers for Italy:

Tries: Ghiraldini, Fuser. Cons: Haimona 2. Pens: Haimona 2.

ITALY:

Odiete, L. Sarto, Campagnaro, Garcia, Bellini, Haimona, Gori, Lovotti, Ghiraldini, Cittadini, Fuser, Furno, Minto, Zanni, Parisse.

Replacements:

Pratichetti for Garcia (75), Padovani for Haimona (72), Palazzani for Gori (79), Zanusso for Lovotti (57), Giazzon for Ghiraldini (57), Castrogiovanni for Cittadini (57), Bernabo for Furno (36), van Schalkwyk for Minto (67).

Scorers for Scotland:

Tries: Barclay, Hardie, Seymour. Cons: Laidlaw 3. Pens: Laidlaw 5.

SCOTLAND:

Hogg, Seymour, Bennett, Taylor, Visser, Russell, Laidlaw, Dickinson, Ford, Nel, R. Gray, J. Gray, Barclay, Hardie, Wilson.

Replacements:

Lamont for Visser (72), McInally for Ford (63), Swinson for R. Gray (79), Low for Barclay (79), Strauss for Wilson (67).

Referee:

Jaco Peyper (South Africa).

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