It was euphoria for the Scots as they beat Wales in their own back yard in the concluding weekend of the 2020 Six Nations for the first time since 2002.
They did still miss out on a top three finish though, on points difference, but Gregor Townsend’s can be very positive about his team.
It was wooden spoon number 12 for Italy and they’ll know this competition poses a serious threat to their Six Nations status, with Georgia entering the fray. For a few years now, there has been questions over the Azurri’s status in Europe’s elite competition and with them on a 29-game losing run, it isn’t exactly surprising to see why.
A potential showdown with the Georgians might not even happen with them in different groups, but should both of them finish bottom of their respective groups, we could see them face off on 5th December.
Scotland On The Rise
Scotland have slowly been building into a respectable team over the last 12 months. Seven-point defeats at Aviva Stadium against Ireland and hosting eventual Six Nations winners England are hardly disastrous results at the start of the year, especially considering they kept those two sides to 19 and 13 points respectively.
Indeed, they’ve won their four matches since to prove their quality, beating all of Italy (+17 points), France (+11), Georgia (+41) and Wales (+4).
In fact, for the first time ever at the Six Nations, Scotland had the best defensive record in the tournament, with just 59 points being scored against them, which also happens to be fewer than any other side has managed for the past five seasons of the competition.
That’s not the sort of statistic Italian fans will want to read, especially considering they managed just six tries from their five matches.
Moreover, a total of just five points from their two matches in Rome in the recent Six Nations against both Scotland and England is woeful, as they failed to score a single point against Townsend’s charges.
Scotland -10 Point Handicap
That certainly makes the visitors an appealing prospect on the handicap with them winning by a comfortable margin in their visit here earlier this year.
In fact, Italy against the Tier One nations have gone a miserly W1-L22 in their home country since March 2014, failing to cover the 10-point handicap in 20 of those.
Of course, Scotland will have to manage without either Finn Russell or Adam Hastings for this clash as they both went down with injuries, but in Ducan Weir they have an experienced replacement.
That will likely see them try to grind the fixture out without the usual flair at fly-half they’ve become accustomed too, but nonetheless, they should still get the job done.
In fact, with the only change in the forwards from their victory in Wales being Stuart McInally replacing the injured Fraser Brown, that tells you all you need to know about their intent, and we’re therefore a little surprised to see the handicap margin at just 10 points.