Italy v Scotland: Blair Kinghorn hopes for a return to hat-trick form

Absence of Finn Russell will continue to cast a dark shadow over the team until they start writing some headlines of their own

Blair Kinghorn scored a hat-trick against Italy last season, but the whole Scotland team are yet to score a try in this Six Nations. Image: FOTOSPORT/DAVID GIBSON
Blair Kinghorn scored a hat-trick against Italy last season, but the whole Scotland team are yet to score a try in this Six Nations. Image: FOTOSPORT/DAVID GIBSON

BLAIR KINGHORN grabbed a hat-trick against Italy during the last Six Nations, back in the days when scoring tries wasn’t a problem for Scotland but leaking them in did make life hard.

“It was a good day at the office,” recalls Kinghorn. “It was happy days as we won, and a good day for me, personally. It was probably my best memory, apart from my debut that is.”

During the 2019 tournament, Gregor Townsend’s side crossed the whitewash 14 times – four more than Grand Slammers Wales managed, the same as Ireland’s total, and bettered only by England. However, they conceded 17 tries, with only Italy having a more porous defence.


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It has been changed days so far in this competition. With two matches played, Scotland’s points accumulation has been strictly in multiples of three (ie. zero tries scored so far), which has at least been offset by their miserliness at the other end of the park, with only two tries conceded which the same as Ireland and less than everyone else.

There has been a fundamental shift during the last 18 months towards a more controlled, lower-risk brand of rugby, which isn’t a bad thing in itself when you think of how frustrating it used to be watching the side regularly cough-up cheap scores to continually leave themselves with mountains to climb – but until narrow losses start transforming into any sort of wins, the suggestion that the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater is not going to go away.

“It’s disappointing, obviously,” replied Kinghorn, when asked about that lack of scoring opportunities for Scotland in this Six Nations. “But I think we’ve been more disappointed by the results. We could have scored a couple against Ireland, then last week against England was a bit of an anomaly game [because of the weather], it was tough for anyone to score tries. We’re disappointed with our results but we’re confident this week.

“They [Italy] have changed their game a little bit, so they’re going to be a bit more expansive, we think. They like to offload the ball – they’ve got the most offloads in the Six Nations so far – so we’ll come ready for an attacking game. And if it is a nice sunny day, which hopefully it is because I’m sick and tired of the rain, that’ll be good. They’re a threat and we’ve looked at it and we’re ready.”

The players made it clear during yesterday’s press call that they are sick of being asked by journalists about Finn Russell. Frankly, the journalists are sick of asking them about the exiled playmaker. But with so little spark coming off the team at the moment, there tends to be nowhere else to go.

That’s what happens when a team isn’t winning. The focus is on what is missing rather than what is there. The only real solution is for this Scotland team to start giving the hacks something else to write about, and – more importantly – the supporters something to cheer.


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David Barnes
About David Barnes 1995 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

4 Comments

  1. Talking of leaking tries and poor defense … weren’t we ? Mr Kinghorn has been very suspect in his defense , especially when he’s had the 15 shirt on for Scotland ! Likewise , Mr Hogg has shown on numerous occasions that he just cant tackle or read the game enough to know where to position himself in defense. Both these guy’s are for sure an attacking force to be reckoned with …. Wing for Kinghorn, centre for Hogg, maybe a place for young Hastings at full back , once Finn returns ?

  2. Frankly, the player that needs to change things is Stuart Hogg he has been on the wrong side of 2 epic blunders for a professional, he can wave goodbye to any thoughts of European player of the year. I am a big fan of Blair Kinghorn, especially in the 15 shirt, so it should be clear to Hogg that he too can be dropped to the bench, regardless of past form.
    Regarding him holding the captaincy, I just don’t think it works for him, he has to run back and forth to speak to the ref and it does not look effective. A captain in the forward is always able to have a quiet word in the ear of the ref (e.g. McCaw, AW Jones, Sole, etc).

    I don’t doubt Hogg’s passion for his country but I would like to see GT make the right choice and give the captaincy to a forward such as Watson.

    • Can’t disagree with your summation…I don’t think the captaincy is for him. My feeling would be Price, Watson or even give Ritchie a shout to see how it goes.

  3. I’m not confident we will beat Italy, and it reminds me of hard days we’ve had before, in the build up to this – 1998, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 & 2015

    Whether we beat them or not Townsend can’t really win from my perspective. He’s had his chance and has failed to implement a strategy that has any room at the current pro rugby table. Avoiding the wooden spoon via losing bonus points is not who we should be. We have a talented pool of players that I am convinced have to potential to win this tournament, feature in Lions teams and reach the semis of the World Cup.

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