15. Rory Lamont: 6/10
An impressive display early on with a brilliant dash down the wing only 2 minutes in, and made some good catches. However after an auspicious start, he saw too little of the ball to really capitalize on that start. Good, but I think Chris Paterson will be the safer bet at full back.
14. Max Evans: 7/10
Looked promising throughout the game, demonstrating his speed and skill. Made several good breaks through the Italian lines and set up Alasdair Dickinson for Scotland’s first try. Took several big hits from the Italians, which he seemed to just wriggle out of. Will be on his way to New Zealand.
13. Nick De Luca: 7/10
Given Man of the Match for his relentless attacking play. A deserved accolade as he played very well and looked incredibly dangerous throughout the game. Several of his runs ended shortly after they had begun due to a lack of support, which is something that Scotland will need to address before their first game.
12. Graeme Morrison: 6/10
The only player to survive from the team who ran out against Ireland, Morrison was distinctly average this week compared to his fellow backs. Did not see too much of the ball, and when he did it was not note worthy.
11. Simon Danielli: 5/10
Not as formidable as usual this time around for Danielli – we saw some great attacking play early on, but the Italians got the measure of him very quickly and were incredibly effective at shutting him down, thus he had little impact on the game.
10. Dan Parks: 7/10
At times he lacked the strategy and calm under pressure that is so characteristic of his game, but overall this was an excellent show from Parks. Kicking 13 of Scotland’s 23 points with 2 successful conversions and 3 successful penalties. I will be very surprised if he is not on the plane as Scotland’s first choice fly-half.
9. Mike Blair: 8/10
A strong game from the scrum half, full of energy and determination. Worked incredibly hard to maximize any Scottish advantage in the first half and was Scotland’s second try scorer swooping in and charging down Andrea Masi’s clearance kick then slamming the loose ball onto the ground for the points.
1. Alasdair Dickinson: 7/10
Alert and on the ball he found himself in the right position for Max Evans to offload to, and crossed the line for Scotland’s first try. Was incredibly resilient against the might of the Italian front row, but I doubt that he will knock Allan Jacobsen from his spot as Scotland’s first choice number 1.
2. Scott Lawson: 6/10
Took a battering from his Italian counterpart but handled himself well in all areas saving the scrum, where the Scottish were definitely on the back foot.
3. Moray Low: 6/10
A dogged effort from Low, but he was another player of whom the Italians had the measure of very early on, and so was not able to utilize his bulk to the full advantage. I think that he will be Scotland’s second choice at tight head prop over Euan Murray.
4. Nathan Hines: 6/10
Contributed well to the line outs, where Scotland had the early advantage. And was another player determined to break through the Italian lines. An unstarry but solid performance from Hines, and I do expect to see him going to New Zealand.
5. Alastair Kellock, (Captain): 6/10
Presided over a relatively calm team, and effectively put a lid on most of the flaring emotions of his team mates. Made some handling errors, but another performance where Kellock led his team by example; fully committing himself in the tackles, making his presence felt in the line outs, and being solid in defence. A good captain, and a good player Andy Robinson would be foolish to leave him behind.
6. Kelly Brown: 5/10
I was disappointed with Kelly Brown’s performance today. It lacked the cutting edge that we normally see from the experienced flanker. Another player making several handling errors that cost Scotland when they had Italy pinned in their own 22.
7. John Barclay: 5/10
This was a hit and miss showing from Barclay. There were several moments of brilliance, countered by missed tackles and sloppy handling. Definitely not at his best today, which is not good this close to a World Cup.
8. Richie Vernon: 6/10
Missed a crucial tackle that allowed Italy to score their second try. Despite this, he fared well against the much more experienced and intimidating Sergio Parisse, and looked dangerous early on with the ball in hand. I would like to see Vernon on the plane to New Zealand, as I feel he has great potential.
16. Dougie Hall
Brought on for Scott Lawson 10 minutes from time. But was not enough to bolster the Scottish forwards against the stronger Italians.
17. Euan Murray
Brought on for Moray Low after 54 minutes. Had enough time to make a big impact on the game and considering that this was his return from injury I would have expected that. However the only visible contribution was some more strength in the scrum, although the Italians still dominated there.
18. Richie Gray
Brought on for Nathan Hines. Delighted the crowd when he came running onto the pitch just after the hour mark, and with his blonde locks, was noticeable everywhere he went. Faced some strong opponents, but handled them well for the 20 minutes he was on the pitch.
19. Ross Rennie
Brought on for Richie Vernon after 74 minutes. Settled in quickly, but was denied any real time to make an impact on the game.
20. Chris Cusiter
Brought on for Mike Blair. Another player who delighted the crowd when he ran out onto the pitch. This was Cusiter’s first international game for 17 months, and whilst it was not as inspired a performance as we saw from Mike Blair, it was reassuring to see him back on the field.
21. Ruaridh Jackson
Brought on for Dan Parks. Ruaridh Jackson differs to Dan Parks because he is more of a running fly-half, we saw this in the game against Ireland the other week and we saw it again this week as Jackson played the final 20 minutes. He did have the opportunity to extend Scotland’s lead after Italy were penalized at the scrum, however his kick fell short.
22. Nikki Walker
Brought on for Simon Danielli after 54 minutes. Played very well with the ball in hand, and made some good runs. Unfortunately sustained a knee injury during a seemingly routine tackle that saw him stretchered off the pitch 3 minutes from time. Walker will not be taking part in the World Cup, as it was confirmed that he has damaged his medial ligament. His loss will be felt.