Scotland v Italy report: late Blair Kinghorn try secures bonus-point win for hosts

Stand-off claims a hat-trick in a generally uninspiring performance

Scotland winger Duhan van der Merwe opened the scoring against Italy with a spectacular finish. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Scotland winger Duhan van der Merwe opened the scoring against Italy with a spectacular finish. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Scotland 26

Italy 14

DAVID BARNES @ Murrayfield

THEY got the job done in the end, with Blair Kinghorn streaking home for his hat-trick try in injury-time to secure the bonus point for Scotland, adding a gloss to the final score-line which the performance did not really deserve.

Assuming there isn’t major upset in Dublin this evening, Gregor Townsend‘s side will finish third in the table – which isn’t bad going given that the world’s top two ranked teams were both involved – but those heady days of early February when England and Wales were put to the sword seem a long time ago now.

Poor old Italy, they had their chances, and Scotland were on the rack at the end, but the Azzurri paid a heavy price for inaccuracies at key moments – not for the first time in this tournament.

Onwards and upwards for Scotland, with the next stop being four World Cup warm-up matches – against Italy (again), France (twice) and Georgia at the end of July and start of August – before the main event gets going in September. They have winning momentum but won ‘t feel this performance was much of a step in the right direction.


Scotland v Italy preview: a fast show pratfall would be no laughing matter for hosts

Adam McBurney agrees contract extension with Edinburgh

Gregor Townsend confirms contact with Mosese Tuipulotu


Scotland coughed up two ruck penalties in the middle of the park in the first five minutes. With the first, awarded against Duhan van der Merwe for holding on, Italy went for the posts, but Tommaso Allan pulled his effort to the left. With the second, against Pierre Schoeman for going off his feet, they went for a line-out which established field position from which Allan nudged the visitors into the lead following a George Turner offside penalty.

The Italians will be frustrated that they did come away from that period of pressure with seven points because a loose pass from Paolo Garbisi to Pierre Bruno killed a clear try-scoring opportunity.

Scotland struck back, with a period of pressure culminating in a spectacular finish from van der Merwe, who clattered the corner flag under pressure from Paolo Garbisi but managed to ground the ball before his body landed in touch. However, Blair Kinghorn pulled his conversion to the left of the posts, and Jack Dempsey then gave away a holding-on penalty at the restart allowing Allan to restore Italy’s lead.

The hosts spent the next 10 minutes camped in Italy’s 22 but couldn’t crack Italy’s heroic defence, until Marco Riccioni was sent to the sin-bin for collapsing a scrum.  Winger Simone Gesi had to give ways so that replacement tight-head Pietro Ceccarelli could fill the front-row, creating a backline mismatch which Scotland took immediate advantage of, with Kinghorn ghosting through midfield to score in the very next play.

The hosts continued to dominate proceedings, but couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard. They came close in the final play of the half, with the busy van der Merwe once again prominent, however Gesi managed to get a hand in the way of Kyle Steyn‘s final pass to Ollie Smith.

 

Scotland fired out the blocks after the break and after another long period of pressure on the Italian line they stretched further ahead when Kinghorn rode a double-tackle from Sebastian Negri and Juan Ignacio Brex to claim his second try of the match  but the hosts failed to kick on from there, and, in fact, played second fiddle for most of the rest of the game.

Italy had a chance when scrum-half  Alessandro Fusco swept past Schoeman only to misjedge his pass to Gesi, but there was no mistake just after the hour mark when Paolo Garbisi prodded a neat diagonal grubber into the left corner for Allan to score.

Aschoolboy fumble from Sione Tuipulotu and a side entry penalty from Dempsey as he tried to tidy up the mess summed up the general tenor of Scotland’s lacklustre second half. Allan slotted the kick to make it a five point game with 15 minutes to go – which was just a bit too close for comfort.

An Ali Price interception and 45 yard streak downfield livened things up, but that opportunity – rather predictably – came to nothing, with Zander Fagerson penalised several phases later for going off his feet.

Then Scotland found themselves desperately defending their own line during the final five minutes, twice giving away offside penalties via Dempsey and Cameron Redpath, before the hosts caught a break when Giovanni Pettinelli knocked-on right under the home posts.

Playing a penalty advantage from the scrum, Price shipped the ball via Kinghorn to van der Merwe on the left wing, who rampaged all the way to halfway before offloading back inside for Kinghorn to finish off. It is the second-time he has scored a hat-trick against Italy, the previous occasion being 2019.

 

Teams –

Scotland: O Smith (B Healy 67); K Steyn, H Jones, S Tuipulotu (C Redpath 67), D van der Merwe; B Kinghorn, B White (A Price 60); P Schoeman (R Sutherland 60), G Turner (E Ashman 50), Z Fagerson ( W Nel, 70), S Skinner, J Gray ( S Cummings 60), J Ritchie, H Watson (M Fagerson, 50), J Dempsey.

Italy: T Allan; P Bruno, J Brex, L Morisi (M Zanon 70), S Gesi (P Ceccarelli 28-39); P Garbisi, A Fusco (A Garbisi 50); D Fischetti (F Zani, 56), G Nicotera (M Manfredi 72), M Riccioni (P Ceccarelli 56-79), E Iachizzi (N Cannone 17-32, 46), F Ruzza, S Negri (M Zuliani 46), M Lamaro, L Cannone (G Pettinelli 60).

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)

 

Scorers –

Scotland: Tries: Van Der Merwe, Kinghorn 3; Con: Kinghorn 3

Italy: Try: Allan; Pen: Allan 3.

Scoring sequence: 0-3; 5-3; 5-6; 10-6; 12-6 (h-t) 17-6; 19-6; 19-11; 19-14; 24-14; 26-14

 

Yellow card –

Italy: Riccioni (28mins)

 

Attendance: 67,144


U20s 6N: Kenny Murray makes eight changes ahead of Italy clash

About David Barnes 3891 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

41 Comments

  1. We would have lost that 2 years ago. The difference is the additional quality in the match day 23. To have players like Kinghorn available when genuine world class players are injured is a godsend. Are we perfect ? No. Do we need more strength in depth ? Yes. Have we progressed ? Yes. BKs time as a first choice player will come ( in my view at 15) he is pressing for that jersey hard.But overall, I would rather have a team who can grind it out when missing 3 top class players and I for one am delighted with that win in those circumstances.

  2. A win’s a win and the ability to win when not full strength or playing 100% perfection – a level that many posters seem to expect of all our players – is a bloomin’ useful trait.
    Finn Russell, on his day, is one of the best in the business. Barrett, Mounga, Farrell, Pollard, Biggar, Sexton, Gabrisi, N’tamack…, are all fine players in their own way, but none are Finn Russell. Yet we expect BK to be. Kinghorn brings different skills to the position and was rewarded with tries that FR probably wouldn’t have scored. 21 points out of 26 is not a sign of playing badly, more simply playing differently to FR. Like everyone on the field and in Paris and Dublin he was not perfect, perhaps playing a bit deep allowing the defence to drift and cover our wider players more easily. Some kicks were a bit short, some were really good. The odd pass missed the target – you know, the sort of things we let FR off with/forget, as just being Finn when he laughs it off again. BK aid not our first choice 10, but he was our next best yesterday and stepped up to the plate.
    Dempsey haws also a major factor, offering a genuine ball carrier – hope he remains fit for the SA game in September.
    Spare a thought for WP Nel, at 37, he answers the call time and again. Mobility is not his strong suit -probably never was -, scrummage is and again he did what was needed and closed out the game for us when we were under the cosh – winning a penalty in the shadow of our posts, allowing the backs the chance to go for the bonus and for Kinghorn to set DVM off and combine to finish from half way.

    9
    1
  3. That was the most disappointing game of the 6 nations. We tried to bash at a locked door instead of utilising our backs out wide. This is due in part to the wrong captain. Ritchie is not the right captain and clearly is affected by the appointment. We had only one jackal all game and that was by a prop!! This used to be one of our strengths. A good captain would have enforced a Plan ‘B’
    Johnny Gray is past it I’m afraid. While Kinghorn had a great game it should be at full back when we have other fit flyhalfs.
    Credit to Italy they are a much improved and well coached team if a little naïve at times and they deserve a better position after their displays against France and Ireland.

    5
    2
  4. Genuine question for those angry at Kinghorn being picked at 10.

    Do you agree with him being picked on the bench as back up 10 and 15 (or starting at 15 covering 10) or would you rather they had put someone like Healy on the bench to come on only if Russell got injured?

    If we want him covering 10 from the bench, which seems worth it to me as it means we don’t need to carry a body, then it seems well worth giving him some starts when Russell is injured especially if the alternative is completely unproven.

    5
    2
    • I would start Kinghorn at 15.

      Not sure what Crosbie did to disappear off the scene – the lad must be gutted.

      Jamie Ritchie needs to work on his charm!

      Huwipolotu were excellent and we really missed Richie Gray from as soon as he went off v Ireland. Schoeman also getting on for top marks, and Ben White now has the 9 jersey.

      3
      1
    • I had no problem with Kinghorn starting yesterday. Still don’t. He was the correct option in the circumstances IMHO.
      But it confirmed for me that he isn’t a starting international 10. His passing is random; so is his line kicking from pens. He has no tactical kicking or control game whatsoever. And the idea of relying in him to kick goals is desperate stuff
      He is a very big very fast lad, who scored 2 tries yesterday like a no8 and tries to offload like a Nakawara – great but not nearly enough to play 10 at top level

      2
      1
    • BK should be 15. Hogg is done sadly. If we want cover on bench Horne can play 10 and 15 as well as being a very decent kicker and Hutchison can also cover ten. That said I would have Horne starting but the point still stands.

  5. Some random thoughts – Blair Kinghorn continues to be messed about by Townsend – very few agree with GT that he’s a 10 and this was exposed again yesterday – in all honesty he would be my first choice 15 as I feel Hogg has been underperforming for a while , Russell makes Scotland tick ! The current crop of players have plateaued under Townsend and a fresh approach is required following the WRC – as a coach Townsend needs a fresh challenge as well – I’m convinced that Jamie Ritchie’s captaincy is having an adverse effect on his form – too often Jamie is seen questioning decisions in a petulant ‘schoolboy’ fashion which ‘irritates’ refs rather than developing on field relationships with them – A fit Richie Gray rules the line out – without him Scotland struggle – It would have been interesting to see Darcy Graham playing outside Jones and Tuipolutu – looking towards the WC is depressing as the draw is stacked heavily against Scotland getting out of their pool

    12
  6. BK showed again he’s a really good FB or wing, but not an international 10. 3 tries is great but all scored in a manner of FB/wing.
    He didn’t look as if he had much idea how to release the dangerous backs that Scotland now have.
    Keep him at full back and make proper use of his very obvious strengths which are not at 10

    10
    3
    • First 2 were scored from stand off bursting through defenders close to the line with a pass direct from White. What does a stand-off try look like.

      • It’s shocking that he couldn’t complete simple passes to the players outside him who could have taken the game away from Italy long before they had chances to win. Scoring isn’t the metric for a ten it’s setting the attack line and killing teams off. If he couldn’t do it against Italy with the worst defence in 6N then how would he open up SA or Ireland?? He was also out of position for the Italy try. He’s a cracking back three player bit nowhere near it as a ten and the mental gymnastics required to pretend otherwise is delusional.

  7. BK is a 10 (and a 15). He’s just a very different 10 from Finn. Whereas Finn’s strength is clever tactical kicking, fizzing passes across the opposition defensive line and half breaks putting other players through gaps that only he can see. BK is a running 10.All power and pace. It needs the rest of the team to recognise what’s happening depending on who is playing 10. It’s good to have a well defined Plan B in our back pocket if Plan A isn’t working with Finn and BK has to step up. As to today’s game we got out of jail to an extent. At 19-6 up we lost all our intensity and physicality. Thought we had the game won. All the old failings reappeared. Basic errors, brainless penalties, overthrown line outs and much too frantic with ball in hand when patience and accuracy were the order of the day. Suddenly Italy had a sniff and went for it. But for stubborn and committed defence, which has been a strength all tournament, Italy would have won. But that’s a game that Scotland sides of the recent past would have lost. We won. Let’s not forget that. England beaten away. Wales put away comfortably. France away given a real scare, and Ireland were challenged for 50 minutes in a way only France have managed. We are a far better side now than at any time for 20+years. Both Ireland and S Africa will know that if they play a Scotland side that hits its straps, then they’ll be in for a real test. People posting on this side are fully entitled to their opinions. But let’s park the sniping and find some positivity. We’re all on the same side. The players are busting a gut for us. Let’s back them. They’re entitled. As for individuals, Schoeman and Jones players of the tournament for us. Dempsey and Tuipolutu getting better by the game as is Steyn. Skinner went well today but Richie Gray and Gilchrist clearly first choice. BK a huge asset in the squad at 10,15 or wing. Please get off his back. By the end of his career he’ll be remembered as one of Scotland’s greatest. Concerned at lack of depth at tight head, and Hamish out of sorts. He needs a run of games to get his mojo back. But we have good alternatives in Darge and the unfortunate Crosby. Overall the graph is upwards. Nobody out there we should fear. On our day we can challenge anyone. We just need more “our days”. That’s not about raw talent that we have in abundance, its about what’s going on in the head when the game is in the balance. One last thought, that young and vibrant Italian side are going to be a real handful over the next few years. Gulp!!

    15
    7
  8. Good grief.
    We do a job in a mentally challenging fixture 6 days after being in an emotional and physical car crash v Ireland that cost us 3 key players and people have the pitch forks out for Blair Kinghorn (who scored a hat trick).

    Please please take a look at yourselves!

    BK would not be playing fly half if any one of Finn Russell, Adam Hastings and probably even Ross Thompson were available.

    He probably would not be playing if Ben Healy was the starting Munster 10 or had established himself at Edinburgh.

    Because none of those things are the case and because BK has played 10 before, Townsend picked him, we won and he got 3 tries.

    Nuff said.

    21
    11
    • No, it is not buff said. We very nearly lost that game and are flattered by the final score. We should not have been in that position. Yes, Townsend had little option, but he’s picked Kinghorn when he has had other options. On at least three occasions he passed to no-one and his first touch kick looked like one of my golf shots. He is not a 10, but he is fine at 15.

      7
      11
  9. In the immortal words of Jimmy Greaves ‘It’s a funny old World, Saint!’ How can I feel so deflated after a Bonus Point Win?
    I feel genuinely sorry for Italy, to be on our line under the posts heaping pressure on pressure [we did well to repulse them] only to see VdM and BK going for broke down the left wing must have been soul destroying, but they were their own worst enemies at times and as Barclay said reminiscent of Scotland in the dark days in the past.
    Let’s be honest that couldn’t, shouldn’t be seen as a satisfying win and it would be harsh if anybody didn’t feel Italy ‘almost’ deserved it.
    Then what about Kinghorn, a hat-trick of tries but comments from the pundits saying that obviously 10 wasn’t his best position: against stronger opposition, or rather opposition that didn’t squander the pressure they put us under it could have easily been a different result.
    That isn’t meant as a criticism of BK, he did what he had to do and dug us out of a hole with 3 tries and 3 out of 4 conversions and yet there are criticisms, let’s be fair the injuries and other factors combined are not his fault and let’s just be thankful for the skills he does have and showed us today.

    21
    1
  10. I am staggered to read some of the negative comments about Blair Kinghorn – I thought after a hat trick and an excellent all round display he would not be the focus of criticism but yet again many comments focus negatively on him without even mentioning other players. Nobody is saying he is better than Finn but under the circumstances he was asked to fill in at stand-off and had his best game for Scotland. i don’t actually remember any major mistakes he made and that could not be said of many others. i doubt any of our other stand-offs would have scored his 2nd and third tries.

    If we had lost that game, which we could have then it would not be down to BK. Ben White had a poor game with a few wayward passes and poor box kicks, we gave away a few silly penalties as usual (15 in total) and several line outs lost once again. Our forwards failed to get over from 5m numerous times. With 10 minutes to go we were in the Italian 22 and then gave away back to back penalties which got them into our 22 where they camped until our breakout. These were the main area where we were poor today and none had anything to do with BK. I’m just glad we won.

    12
    2
  11. Thought it would be close, and so it proved. BK had a good game, as the best 10 we had available he took on the challenge and scored a hat-trick of tries. Yes, he may be far from second choice to Finn, but he was asked and stood up – so I can’t criticise. He is of course and should be our starting FB next game. Otherwise, Price brought a lot more energy than I thought he would, good Cameo from Redpath. Feel really disappointed regards the forwards, Dempsey aside, penalty count seemed horrendous. Just thought that we got bossed at the breakdown and were really slow at the clear out. Lucky escape really, and although not the performance I was hoping for, still delighted at third place.

    14
    4
    • The key player in our improved forward performances has been Ritchie Gray. Not sure if people realise the effect it has on the rest of the pack having a go to lineout jumper, not only in winning his ball but he takes the pressure off the hookers, our other jumpers and causes the opposition problems. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that our poorest forward displays have been when Ritchie was absent.

      31
  12. I don’t know if some folks were watching the same match as me reading their comments….but anyhoo we all interpret differently.

    My take…
    For the umpteenth time GT talks about this ’80 minute performance’……well today was the result of about a 5 minute performance. We have been incapable of performing for 80 mins the whole 6N + the entire GT tenure. GT is not selecting our best players and in their best positions. He is selecting too many players he thinks gave him historical successes. We have better inform players and he isn’t using them…frustrating!
    Kinghorn is a 15 all day long…not a 10…his passing and management of the game is borderline terrible. however give him the ball and he is a great runner.
    Brown, Watson, J Gray, Nel, Berghan, Hogg…they are done at this level. The only thing they contribute to now are passages of poor play. I would only accept GT continuing as head coach is if he recognizes this and acts. Thats not likely though is it…so I hope SRU has done its recruitment due diligence in someone to take our players forward…because there is talent there ..but it isn’t being utilized properly. We surely can’t be thinking ‘this is cool we are ramping up nicely for the RWC’??…The lineout is a shambles…we have no depth of any quality at TH because we have failed to develop what props there are out there. We rely on a resurgent 33Yr old tall bloke…and a 37yr old TH that looks we recruited him from one the nearby pubs and has that level of mobility. We are back to coughing up easy ball…and daft penalties.

    All the press say Italy are dangerous and a much improved side. Well I watched them more closely in both the Wales match and this one…and they look worse to me ..not better. Ive watched better Italian sides in years gone by. Without their regular 15 Capouza?..they look clueless in the 22. They easily cough up ball. Their jackaling looked their best asset.

    We coughed up soo much ball we made an average to poor team believe they could win on our own patch. This was sooo very close to another epic GT fail…

    6
    6
  13. So we finished 3rd in the table, scored 17 tries, including try of the championship to my mind VDM against England. We have played some good rugby at times , our defense was very good , we are 5th in the world rankings. We found a way to win today when we were withing an ace of losing. There have been some very good performances from players , the return of R Gray , Tuipulotu and Jones at Centre are an impressive pairing, and we finally have options at 15 other than Hogg. However we still have little other options for Finn. It’s been a great championship so looking forward to the RWC and next years 6N.
    Finally well done to Ireland on your GS and the rest, well deserved.

    30
  14. Its not Kinghorn who keeps picking himself at 10. I am sure he too would prefer 15 and has looked comfortable there. Hopefully Healy will solve the problem for 3rd choice 10 but credit where its due he got stuck in and tried at the most difficult position and scored 3 try’s. WTF would make you lot happy?

    25
    10
    • Healy was third best pick at Ireland’s third best side
      ….solidly 8 or 9 players would be down before they would look at him…. we can’t beat decent teams by picking their cast offs…hence we are third best and weirdly ppl are celebrating that…if Wales n English find half decent coaches we will b scrabbling with Georgia n Italy… anyone thinking otherwise is deluded

  15. Unless all the other options are actually dead, Kinghorn must never, ever play 10 for Scotland again. We should never have come so close to losing to a dogged, but limited Italian team, but that graduate of the Stevie Wonder School of Passing helped immensely to make sure we did. Fine, he scored three tries, but none owed anything to the skills required of a player in such an influential position. Russell’s absence was glaringly obvious.

    We must surely accept Jonny Gray’s best years are behind him, unless he finds what transformed his brother in the last year. He lacks any dynamism going forward and our kick reception and lineout revert to the standards of recent seasons when he is influential.

    On a positive note, we won, which we had reason to be more confident of than I felt as the game unfolded. A fully fit squad, offering first choice in every position, is capable of being a headache for any team and some of the dynamism and excitement the team offered in this 6 Nations is proof of that. We could have beaten France, we came close to causing problems for the Irish and are in better shape heading towards this World Cup than we were the last one. Fingers crossed we have those we rely on fit and available and offer more of what this team has shown it can offer. It was great to watch at times.

    16
    28
    • Do you not realise FR is a world class player, Scotland have never had that many and when they are missing of course you’re going to miss them and the replacement is not going to be as good. I would venture that FR is the greatest stand off we’ve ever had.

      13
  16. Great that BK scored a hat trick but he’s just never a ten. Thought Ben White was well below his normal standard. Back five b poor apart from Dempsey who has made the jersey his own. Line out is a shambles. Still nothing to suggest we can get near the QF at RWC. Ultimately hard to feel happy with poor selections and poor organisation in so many aspects of our game. We are benefitting from Italy still being early in the Crowley era and Wales n English being as bad as I can remember. It’s defo time for a refresh and reboot at top starting with getting selections correct. The stubbornness is holding us back.

    19
    10
  17. Clear again Kinghorn is not a standoff but deserves a run at fullback.
    Lineouts once again a shambles and have been for the majority of the tournament, time for a change of line out coach.
    Glad we won but was not great watching!!

    14
    5
  18. Well done Blair Kinghorn – a great game and not just the 3 tries – he really showed his running skills and strength to break tackles in the first 2 and great pace for the 3rd. As he was going in for his 3rd try the announcer at the ground told us jack Dempsey was man of the match. I think all around us were a bit surprised.

    A bonus point win certainly doesn’t tell the story and you do feel sorry for Italy. They could have easily won the game in the last 5 minutes and then we go up the other end and score. It would have been a very different discussion if Italy had won. Whilst Italy are good and play a good brand of rugby we gave them far too many inroads into the game. They like to hold onto the ball so don’t give it them too easily by the usual succession of penalties and poor line out throws. We also appeared to box kick deliberately long – I assume it was because it was nowhere near contestable from White. The other area of concern for me was the forwards lack of ability to score from 5m out. We were camped for long periods close to their line in the first half but were very pedestrian and lacked any variety to get over – this is a regular problem.

    Anyway good to talk about areas for improvement from a winning position. A good 6 Nations overall.

    14
    4
    • For once sense spoken. BK is not as good as FR but he’s next in line. The critics just keep repeating the same old but never have a solution.

      19
      23
      • Aye, Blair is not Finn Russell but who is? To be perfectly honest I don’t think Finn would score Kinghorn’s second and third tries today, the second took a lot of power and the third ( that’s third) was pure gas, after having the vision to see it was on and make and take the passes with vdM. (btw Duhan’s finish!)

        Kinghorn is the player most teams would want in their 23 because of his versatility. I don’t really understand why so many have taken agin him, even after 130 teams for Edinburgh and 43 for Scotland.

  19. I had predicted a 15-point margin and it wasn’t far off, but not it that manner. Extremely dissatisfying match for me and not how we would have wanted to end our Six Nations. At 19-6 we should have put the match to bed and have only Italy’s lack of composure in the 22 to thank for avoiding an embarrassing and demoralising defeat. Not at all satisfied. We grew stronger in the first three matches of this tournament and tailed off badly in the last two, which gives real concern going into the toughest imaginable World Cup campaign. Far too many infringements to boot. On the plus side we got the bonus point and likely the bronze medal, but Italy – nine places below us in the world rankings – are gritty performers and deserve credit for sticking in there to make it such a tense game. Huge congratulations to Blair Kinghorn for his hat trick, but I still reckon he is a more valuable player striking from deep rather than at ten. Jack Dempsey is rapidly establishing himself as an automatic back row pick and Ben Healey is officially no longer an Irishman. He sang the national anthem with great pride and will feel increasingly at home with every day that passes. Questions need to be asked after this match, not least why on Earth did we ever agree to play in that dreadful puce jersey? Probably the most disgusting international strip I’ve ever seen. To heck with the kit contract, burn it. Burn it now before it does any more harm!

    23
    7
  20. The first question in that game was how was Kinghorn going to go . In that match we saw the great and not great – funny how same attributes or otherwise come through :
    Great – passing and distribution
    Running from deep when he has space
    Breaking line from close in helped by threat of other backs acting as decoy
    Not great focus – switched off for Italy try cruising along rather than getting into position behind defensive line
    Controlling and managing game / territory when comfortably in front – he MUST lead not just keep shovel ball out
    regardless – manage the game it’s your number 1 role .

    His kick from hand has Improved so let’s hope he will continue to improve leadership ,focus ,game management . He is well worth the investment – he is a class act in so many ways . Well done Blair .

    7
    17
    • Great passing? There was no-one there on at least three occasions, which is hardly unexpected from Kinghorn.

      12
      4
  21. Uninspiring performance. Rinse and repeat in the firwards. Despite the 3 tries BK is simply not a 10 and we gradually lost complete control of the game. Every armchair coaches predictions came to pass re dubious selections but our highly paid professional coach just can’t see it. Was Gregor handing out the sedatives at half time again as that is the second game in a row we have come out the tunnel at half time sleep walking.Hopefully that is Townsends final 6N game in charge.

    22
    12
  22. Relief. Great to see BK have a good game, powerful lad.

    I guess the absence of FR/SH made as kick far less for territory, so it seemed. Players looked knackered after 60 minutes, short turnaround probably didn’t help.

    6
    5
  23. Hard luck to Italy, so so close at the end there. If they had barged over for the winning score I dont think we could have complained too much. Italy grew in desire, intensity and spirit as the game wore on whereas Scotland simply fell out the game from about 58 mins on (similar to against Ireland). At the same time, a BP win secured and 4 great tries so we can still take some positives out of a fairly poor performance overall. Wearing my positive hat ill say its the win and margin we wanted even when not playing well and missing some key men, we will take it. Again hard lines to Italy who I love to see win usually, they will win a game again in this competition soon.

    12
    • Well done to BK, thanks for covering a key position in the absence of injured colleagues. Dempsey now adding to the side. Watson may not be firing on all cylinders but he is still a BL, playing with JR as our captain, a very strong player, so why are we getting beaten at the breakdown by Italy?? Have had problems last 3 matches turning over possession, giving away penalties. Who is the Scottish forward coach? Is it the same person that thought Bergan was a better option to Nel v Ireland, and that thought it was a good idea to bring on the 2nd string front row when Ireland strengthened their scrum by adding Healey? Pack looks undercooked, fallen asleep halftime last 2 games, need a serious forward coach pre RWC. Time to move GT on, post RWC, he will be a better coach for it and we desparately need fresh voice/thinking. Not to say he can’t come back in the future having widened his experience and coaching knowledge.

      4
      1

Comments are closed.