Six Nations: Scotland not getting the message - Vern Cotter

Italy won 22-19 at Murrayfield
Italy earned revenge for last year's late defeat against Scotland in Rome with a last-minute penalty try

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter admitted Saturday's Six Nations defeat by Italy at Murrayfield exposed flaws in his side that need to be addressed.

The hosts led up until the final minute, when a penalty try and subsequent conversion gave the Italians a dramatic 22-19 victory in Edinburgh.

"I'm obviously not getting the message across," Cotter told BBC Scotland.

"Obviously, I'm responsible for the defeat so I'll be having a good look at myself and how we can move forward."

Scotland prop up the table without a point from three outings, and face a trip to Twickenham next before the tournament ends with a home match against Ireland.

Now staring at their fourth wooden spoon in 11 years, Scotland enjoyed a promising start when Mark Bennett's intercept try and 11 points from skipper Greig Laidlaw's boot gave the hosts a commanding lead.

But scores from Joshua Furno and Giovanbattista Venditti, plus five points from kicker Kelly Haimona, allowed the Italians back into the match before the break.

Laidlaw added another penalty after half-time but Scotland were disjointed and nervy, and a late surge from the Azzurri left referee George Clancy no option but to award the visitors a last-gasp penalty try, converted by Tommy Allan.

Afterwards, Cotter added: "There are some things we need to have a look at. We win together, we lose together.

"We've got two more games. and there are things that we need to do to perhaps give us more composure and enable us to finish and close out games."

Peter Horne played at number 10 for Scotland
Peter Horne was chosen to fill in for suspended Finn Russell at fly-half

Scotland had been forced into a change at fly-half due to Finn Russell's suspension and injuries to Duncan Weir and Ruaridh Jackson meant Peter Horne was given the number 10 jersey.

An injury to lock Richie Gray also hampered Cotter's options.

"We know that they probably saw that we might be a little bit light with a few losses [of personnel] and we had anticipated strong scrummaging and line-out drives," explained Cotter.

"We need to go back and have another look at how we can defend those types of play because I think England play in a similar fashion.

"We need to change things during the game. That's part of the growth experience. There's a number of young players out there."

After losing 15-8 to France and then 26-23 to Wales, Scotland had taken heart from positive performances and Cotter tried to remain upbeat ahead of their remaining fixtures.

"I still think there's a lot of growth, things have gone forward," the New Zealander continued.

"We've just got to address a couple of simple things that will have us change and control outcomes better and those are things we'll have a look at internally."

Laidlaw said simply: "Huge disappointment. We're gutted with the results."

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