Ieri...che partita! Nessuno se lo aspettava ed e' stato bello passare il pomeriggio a godersi questa stravittoria sugli Scozzesi. Tant'e' che oggi i giornali locali non fanno mancare elogi al nostro team "un gruppo di uomini pronti a morire per il loro paese, come cantano nell'inno" - Sunday Telegraph. Un arbitro di parte - Sunday Telegraph - che ha messo a rischio l'Italia, ma non le ha impedito di spezzare gli Scozzesi.
Italy make Scotland pay for five minutes of madness
By Mark Reason at Murrayfield, Sunday Telegraph
Scotland 17 Italy 37
It took Italy five minutes and 40 seconds to score three tries, kick three conversions and take a 21-0 lead. Or rather it took Scotland less time than it takes to sing the Italian national anthem to present the opposition with three of the softest scores ever seen in this championship. One could only suppose that the Scottish back line must have been on the crazy juice at lunchtime.
The result was that Italy won their first match away from home in the championship and Scotland maintained their record of not having won back-to-back matches since 2001. It was a tale of two scrum-halves - one banding his men together and ready to die for Italy as demanded in the national anthem, the other a buffoon from comic opera.
Right from the kick-off the Scottish pack drove the ball into midfield, Chris Cusiter passed to his fly-half and his fly-half passed into the world of fancy. Instead of hoofing the ball 50 yards down the pitch, Phil Godman tried to chip over the advancing Italian defence and was charged down by Mauro Bergamasco. The Italian flanker scored after 19 seconds of the match without having a hand laid on him.
Three minutes later Cusiter found himself in the stand-off position, made a half break and looked to pop up a pass to Rob Dewey. Andrea Scanavacca may not be the most accomplished No10 in Europe but he has been around long enough to read telegrams. Again he trotted in untouched.
But if the first two Italian tries implied a certain simpleness among the Scottish half-backs, the third charged them with lunacy.
Cusiter, who could not be accused of being a quick learner, ran a loop around his fly-half as the Italian tanks advanced into Scottish territory and then threw a huge miss-pass across the midfield. By now there were several Italians in the check-out queue, but it was Kaine Robertson who took the ball and cruised to the posts.
The reaction of the Murrayfield crowd, who may well have just heard that the cost of a premier World Cup ticket for the All Blacks match will be £175, was a rumble of boos.
More pertinently one son of Scotland texted his father in the press box with the message: "This is mental". The Azurri fans in the corner just bobbed up and down and sang the Internazionale.
But the most significant reaction came from Donal Courtney, the Irish referee. Courtney was the video official who wrongly awarded Jonny Wilkinson a try in the Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham and he seemed to believe that he had much to atone for. The Italians have a habit of beefing about referees, but on this occasion they would have been more than justified.
Courtney's first contribution to the cause was to run a screen that allowed Dewey to score Scotland's opening try. But he had much more to give than that. Three times in the first half Italy had a magnificent driving maul going and each time a Scottish forward cynically took their legs away. Courtney merely looked the other way. But the first time Italy did something remotely similar he was straight out with the whistle. It was indicative of a ridiculously one-sided penalty count.
At one point it even threatened to cost Italy the game. When Chris Paterson split a couple of Italian forwards to score in the second half Scotland had reduced their deficit to 24-17 and were in with a sniff. But Alessandro Troncon, who is the real leader of this Italian side, reorganised his forwards and, after another Cusiter error, directed their power to shut out the game.
Troncon was quite outstanding and gave one of the finest defensive scrum-half displays this Championship has seen. Scotland broke the Italian line often enough to have scored much more than they did, but each time Troncon came across and made the tackle.
He received grand support from his No8 Sergio Parisse and together they held Italy up when previous sides might have gone in the legs.
If not quite abject, then Scotland were at least an object of derision. Scott Murray equalled Gregor Townsend's record of 82 caps for his country and can be reasonably sanguine about his own performance.
The one area where Scotland took Italy to the cleaners was in the line-out and Murray had much to do with that.
But there was not much else for Scotland to take from this match and into their World Cup game against Italy at the end of September. If Scotland keep going like this then the likes of Romania and the winners of Portugal and Uruguay will not be quaking at the prospect of meeting them in the autumn.
Yesterday Scotland tried to play like a top-class side and quickly discovered that the realities of international rugby do not allow such whimsy. There are a few basics that Scotland do well and if they are not to be humiliated in the World Cup then they would be well advised to return to them without delay.