Rugby World Cup 2015: Scotland beat Italy in warm-up

By Andy CampbellBBC Sport Scotland
Henry Pyrgos scores a try for Scotland against Italy
Henry Pyrgos scored his second try of Scotland's summer series
Italy (9) 12
Pens: Garcia, Allan 3
Scotland (9) 16
Try: Pyrgos Cons: Weir Pens: Weir 3

A late Henry Pyrgos try gave Scotland their first win of 2015 as Italy were beaten in an uninspiring World Cup warm-up match in Turin.

Duncan Weir sent over three first-half penalties for the Scots, but Gonzalo Garcia's reply and two more penalties from Tommaso Allan levelled matters.

After the break, Allan's third penalty put Italy ahead for the first time.

But substitute scrum-half Pyrgos went over against the run of play before Weir added the conversion.

The two sides meet again at Murrayfield next Saturday, before Scotland head coach Vern Cotter announces his 31-man Scotland squad for the World Cup before a final pre-tournament match away to France on 5 September.

Cotter's side open their World Cup campaign against Japan in Gloucester on 23 September.

Jim Hamilton and Francesco Minto
Jim Hamilton (left) was a late inclusion in the Scotland line-up

Having lost narrowly in Ireland last weekend, Scotland were forced into a late change to their line-up, with captain Grant Gilchrist having been taken ill.

His place in the second row went to Jim Hamilton while flanker Alasdair Strokosch took over as captain, with lock Kevin Bryce getting a late substitute's place.

Scotland, with wing Rory Hughes and forwards John Hardie and Stuart McInally making first Test starts, got the upper hand in the opening 20 minutes.

Infringements allowed Weir to put six points on the board and a sweeping move from left to right almost put the visitors in for a try, before a handling error by Greig Tonks allowed the Italians to recover.

Garcia hit the upright with his first kick but was successful with his next attempt before Weir and then Italy's Allan knocked over further penalties.

Scotland tried to repel some powerful Italian advances as half-time neared and these eventually secured another penalty, which Allan sent over between the posts.

Duncan Weir scores a penalty for Scotland against Italy
Weir kicked 11 of Scotland's points in Turin

The interval did little to diminish Italy's determination to get across the line and the hosts were left frustrated when referee JP Doyle awarded only a scrum after Tommaso Benvenuti had tried to ground.

Cotter's men eventually enjoyed some respite before Weir kicked a penalty from a long way out. But Italy's Allan was successful with a much more straightforward kick moments later.

The momentum remained largely with the Azzurri, although Richie Vernon's replacement Peter Horne did manage to break clear before being stopped just short of the line.

A try for either side seemed unlikely until substitute Hamish Watson combined with Tonks to release Scott, and he in turn sent Pyrgos over for the touch down.

Weir added the extras and the Scots were soon celebrating a welcome victory.

Italy: Andrea Masi, Leonardo Sarto, Tommaso Benvenuti, Gonzalo Garcia, Giovanbattista Venditti, Tommaso Allan, Guglielmo Palazzani; Matias Aguero, Davide Giazzon, Lorenzo Cittadini, Quintin Geldenhuys (capt), Valerio Bernabo, Francesco Minto, Alessandro Zanni, Samuela Vunisa,

Replacements: Leonardo Ghiraldini, Michele Rizzo, Martin Castrogiovanni, Marco Bortolami, Mauro Bergamasco, Marcello Violi, Carlo Canna, Luke McLean.

Scotland: Greig Tonks, Sean Lamont, Richie Vernon, Matt Scott, Rory Hughes, Duncan Weir, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Gordon Reid, Stuart McInally, Mike Cusack, Richie Gray, Jim Hamilton, Alasdair Strokosch (capt), John Hardie, Adam Ashe.

Replacements: Ross Ford, Alasdair Dickinson, Willem Nel, Kevin Bryce, Hamish Watson, Henry Pyrgos, Peter Horne, Damien Hoyland.

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