Andrea Marcato’s last-minute drop goal ensured Italy ended the 2008 Six Nations on a winning note, as they triumphed 23-20 to condemn Scotland to their fourth defeat this year.
But Frank Hadden’s men avoided a second successive wooden spoon by the skin of their teeth as Italy needed to beat them by five points to finish fifth in the table.
Sportinglife reports that after conceding a penalty try early on, Scotland scored two tries in 20 minutes through Ally Hogg and Mike Blair.
That was more than they had scored in the previous seven matches but they failed to build on it and Gonzalo Canale dived over for Italy on the hour before Marcato’s heroics.
Despite the encouraging first-half spell, Chris Paterson’s late penalty – his 33rd successful kick in a row for his country – were the only points Scotland scored after the break as they squandered a seven-point lead.
Speaking within minutes of the full-time whistle, Scotland flanker Alasdair Strokosch told BBC1: “We’re absolutely gutted.
“We started the tournament badly but felt we progressed with every game up to the England match (Scotland won 15-9). We hoped to build on that here.
“It was a solid performance in the first half but we took our foot off the gas I think.”
With time to reflect, Hadden insisted there were positives to be taken.
He said: “Not only did we dominate the game but we controlled it.
“Had we gotten a try or taken advantage of our chances we could have recorded our best win in Italy.
“But sadly it wasn’t to be, the penalty count was frustrating for us.”
Italy coach Nick Mallett gave no significance to his team finishing with the wooden spoon.
He said: “It doesn’t bother me at all.
“I don’t see the importance of that because this competition is played to win and if not to improve and that’s what we have tried to do.”Tweet