By Ben Hart in Treviso
Scotland head coach Kenny Murray said their Under-20 Six Nations Summer Series game against Italy was lost in the forwards following a tough 34-14 reverse.
Five of Italy’s six scores came from the pack, three of which were a direct result of lineout drives as Scotland had no answer to their opponent's set-piece.
And Italy were just as solid in defence, denying Murray’s side a score on the stroke of half time which would have brought Scotland to within a point of the tournament hosts.
“Obviously we’re disappointed again,” he said.
“At half time we were 15-7 down, we didn’t take the opportunity just before half time at the try line.
“We carried the ball a bit too high and had it ripped off us and that was the story of the game for us. So many individual errors put us under pressure.
“We asked the boys to come out and give us a response, we got that for parts of the first half but we didn’t take our chances when we got them. We conceded five tries from line out drives and that is frustrating.”
There were some mitigating factors, with a spate of injuries ruling out the more experienced members of Murray’s squad, including tighthead Callum Norrie, which forced Murray to quite literally reshuffle his pack.
“They’ve got a really good scrum and we were struggling a bit with injuries,” he said.
“We were under a lot of pressure, Ali Rogers the loosehead had to cover at tighthead so we knew we were going to be under pressure at the scrum, especially with the two they brought on, they were big men.
And it was the introduction of Italy’s replacement forwards that ultimately made the difference. The score remained 15-7 until the 65th minute, before Italy powered over on three occasions in the space of 10 minutes.
Those tries all came courtesy of substitutes, with hooker Tommaso Scramoncin bagging a brace either side of a score for flanker Giovanni Cenedese.
Murray was left to regret the late collapse and said his side just could not wrestle back momentum after Scramoncin’s first effort.
“We just couldn’t get out of the cycle of scrum penalty into lineout drive,” he said.
“We tried to get up to stop the drive but they were very accurate, very big men and at one point we had two hookers on the pitch in the forwards.”
Murray’s side have now lost 12 consecutive matches and will be hoping it’s lucky no.13 when they play Georgia on Wednesday in their final pool fixture.
The Six Nations Under-20 Summer Series takes place from 24 June – 12 July. Fans can watch every match live. For more information visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJHm6BFw-9JRA1CMekNLwMg