Duncan Weir’s 40-metre drop goal sealed a last-gasp win for Scotland in a contest that delivered thrills and spills and—thankfully—plenty of tries.
With the barrage of criticism that has come their way since that abject defeat to England, including some calls for them to be relegated from the Six Nations, Scotland knew Saturday was time to answer their detractors.
They did that and lifted the gloom in fine style.
Here’s what we learned.
It took 214 minutes of the 2014 Six Nations, but Scotland at last proved the still know where the try line is.
What’s more, they did it by slicing Italy open out wide.
Alex Dunbar found room on the outside centre channel for his first and profited from a great break by Sean Lamont for his second. How refreshing to see Scottish backs do what they are supposed to.
Tommy Allan played for the Scottish age group sides but eventually decided his international future lay with Italy.
Saturday, Scotland almost paid dearly for that choice, as Allan kicked two penalties and scored their opening try.
If the youngster continues his development, he will be a huge asset to the Azzurri and a great loss to Scotland.
This performance can certainly go down as a Jekyll-and-Hyde display from Scotland, but at least we saw some good to go with the bad.
Ten penalties given away in the first half told its own story. No side can hope to compete with discipline as poor as that.
But Scotland were vastly improved in the second half and deserved their win. They now know that they can play with intensity and cohesion.
They just have to do it more often.
Things look bleak this season for the Azzurri.
Having come up short against unimpressive Welsh and French sides, they were favourites to beat Scotland, so poor had the Scots been so far. But having lost with virtually the last kick of the game, that’s three defeats on the bounce.
They now have to travel to Dublin before hosting England in the final round. It would take a brave man to back them to get a win in either of those displays.