EDINBURGH, Scotland – Italy came crashing back to earth just six days after a historic victory over France in their opening Six Nations encounter, going doing to a crushing 34-10 loss to Scotland Saturday at Murrayfield.
Tries by Tim Visser, Matt Scott, Stuart Hogg and Sean Lamont, countered by a late consolation effort by Alessandro Zanni, helped Scotland rebound well from an opening loss to tournament favourites England.
Although Scotland dominated early possession, Italy should have opened the scoring but Luciano Orquera's penalty came back off the Scottish upright.
Instead it was the home side who went in front on the quarter-hour mark thanks to a Greig Laidlaw penalty and the Scottish outhalf made it 6-0 with a second kick on 25 minutes after Italy were penalised for collapsing the maul.
Scott almost crossed the Italian line shortly afterwards, following a terrible mistake by Giovanbattista Venditti but was forced into touch by Tobias Botes.
The try Scottish pressure deserved finally came on 30 minutes when Dutch-born winger Visser stepped inside two Italian defenders to score his fifth international try for Scotland.
Laidlaw slotted over the subsequent conversion but there was still time for Orquera to knock over Italy's first penalty to send Scotland in at half-time holding a comfortable 13-3 lead.
The match was all but over as a contest three minutes after the restart when New Zealand-born winger Sean Maitland set up Scott to score Scotland's second try of the game, which was once again converted by Laidlaw.
Italy looked just one pass short of scoring their first try of the game three minutes later but Orquera's pass to Andrea Masi was intercepted by Scottish full-back Hogg who ran length the field to touch down.
The peerless Laidlaw once again converted and there was further joy for the home fans 11 minutes from time when Lamont scored his ninth international try for Scotland with another breakaway effort.
Zanni did manage to power over the Scottish line five minutes from time for a consolation Italian try, which was converted by replacement outhalf Kris Burton to reduce the deficit to 34-10.
The Six Nations continues later Saturday when Wales take on France while Ireland and England, the only unbeaten teams left in tournament, meet Sunday in Dublin. – Sapa-dpa