15. Luke McLean: 7.5
Another excellent display from the full back, who has had an good championship so far. Showed superb quick hands to allow Italy to capitalise on an overlap for the Furno try and his long kicking from the back is becoming an impressive, regular feature.
14. Angelo Esposito: 5
A very quiet afternoon for the young winger. Showed intelligence and patience in defence on a couple of occasions, particularly in the first half when Weir broke through, Esposito forcing an error and then counter-attacking to turn a potential Scottish try into front foot Italian ball.
13. Michele Campagnaro: 5
Another muted game from the centre. He will want to show that his heroics at the Millennium were not just a flash in the pan. A courageous defensive effort on Italy’s line when backs were against the wall impressed and his 10 tackles are proof of an industrious if not flash performance.
12. Gonzalo Garcia: 7
A much better showing from Garcia, who was powerful in defence, making 11 tackles including several that stopped Scottish momentum and put them on the back foot. Gained only 23 metres in attack but every single one was hard earned as Italy got more go forward than in the previous two rounds.
11. Leonardo Sarto: 6
The better of the two wingers, Sarto has shown impressive physicality in both the carry and tackle so far in this tournament. Was alert to stop Scotland’s ill-advised quick tap on the Italian line and showed smarts not to die with the ball in the build-up to Allan’s try. Still doesn’t get involved in the game with enough regularity.
10. Tommaso Allan: 6
The best performance from the young fly-half so far. He scored 13 points, including a well taken try, and got Italy moving around the field, whilst his goal-kicking was also much improved. However, he was found out in defence and missed a number of tackles, one leading directly to Scotland’s second try. At the top level that is not good enough and is looking more and more like a long-term project.
9. Edoardo Gori: 6
Looked far more purposeful and sprightly early on, Italy finding their much-sought tempo as he zipped the ball crisply away from the breakdown. However, his fumble, after a clever bit of trickery in a tight spot, lead to Scotland’ first try and let them back into a game Italy seemed largely in control of.
8. Sergio Parisse: 7
The battle with Beattie was enjoyable to watch and Parisse arguably edged it. A typically muscular carry from the base of the scrum in the build-up to Allan’s score was vintage Sergio, as well as the classy draw and give for Furno’s try that made you forget what number he wears on his back. Provided the touch of class Italy required to break Scotland down.
7. Robert Barbieri: 8.5
The openside was outstanding for 50 minutes before running out of steam a little and being replaced by Derbyshire. He slowed Scotland to a standstill at the breakdown, forced turnovers, penalties and completely nullified the Scots’ attack. He also linked the play exceptionally well, offloading and supporting carriers with tireless energy.
6. Alessandro Zanni: 6
Was low-key again in comparison to his backrow compatriots, although put in a shift generating quicker ball for Gori and co. at the breakdown. Personally felt Minto was extremely hard done by to lose his spot after last week.
5. Josh Furno: 8
Swashbuckling stuff from big Josh. Stout at the coalface, and furious around the field, he didn’t stop working throughout the 80. Carrying tirelessly, putting in big hits, and always raising the energy levels of those around him. Did not deserve to be on the losing side.
4. Quintin Geldunhuys: 6
Put in a solid shift making 11 tackles but was outshone by his partner and outplayed by his opposite Gray, who finally turned in the sort of performance we’ve come to expect from the Lion.
3. Martin Castrogiovanni: 7
Gave the Scots’ scrum a monstering in the first half and put it some titanic hits in defence on Scotland’s biggest runners. Arguably his best performance of the championship.
2. Leonardo Ghiraldini: 5
Industrious as ever, Ghiraldini is the energetic heartbeat of the Italian pack. His accuracy was a little wayward this weekend in the lineout and he turned the ball over needlessly when Italy were just starting to build momentum, however.
1. Alberto De Marchi: 7
De Marchi is having a fine tournament. Huge in the scrum once again, forcing three penalties in the first half alone. Didn’t quite manage to emulate his play of the last two weeks in the loose, but still snaffled ball on the floor and never took a step back in defence.
Orquera once again made an immediate impact on entering the fray, with Italy putting together their best move of the match to put Furno in for a try. The others couldn’t quite drag Italy over the line in the dying seconds.
By Patrick Cheshire (@jpcheshire)
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images