Hat-trick hero Kinghorn secures a top finish for the hosts

Blair Kinghorn scored three tries as Scotland capped their Six Nations season with a 26-14 bonus points win over Italy to almost secure third place in that year’s championship.

Gregor Townsend’s side had lost consecutive games against France and Ireland after opening with consecutive wins for the first time, but they ended their tournament on a high.

Duhan van der Merwe and Kinghorn made substitutions in the first half, although Scotland were just six points clear at the break when Tommaso overplayed Allan twice.

Kinghorn marked his return to the side with another try early in the second half and while Allan reduced the deficit to five points, Kinghorn’s late third snagged a bonus point.

Van der Merwe landed the ball brilliantly in the left corner mid-bounce to send Scotland off, but a couple of Allan penalties at either end gave Italy the lead.

Marco Riccioni was shown a yellow card after another collapsed scrum and that proved to be a big moment as Kinghorn fell over a minute later and this time converted.

Despite some last-ditch attempts to defend, Ben White was able to turn the ball to Kinghorn in the 43rd minute to stretch for another converted try as Scotland went wide.

Allan, however, conceded Paolo Garbisi’s grubber to open Italy’s try count and after missing the conversion found the sticks from a penalty to put Scotland on five points.

It was a riveting ending, but Italy’s hopes of a second win in 42 Six Nations games ended when Van der Merwe counterattacked against Star Kinghorn.

Scotland does the job

Despite what the result might suggest, it was far from a classic performance from Scotland and it might as well have been Italy victorious.

Townsend’s side ultimately prevailed, however, with their eighth consecutive Six Nations win over Italy, who end with the wooden spoon for the eighth straight season.

Scotland will now safely finish third for the first time since 2018 barring an impossibly big win for England in the showdown with Grand Slam-chasing Ireland later on Saturday.

Kinghorn does it again

This was the first game Scotland started without either Finn Russell or Stuart Hogg in the team since the opening game of the 2012 edition.

Ollie Smith and Kinghorn came on as substitutes, and boy did the latter make the most of the chance by topping the tournament try charts with his hat-trick with teammate Huw Jones.

It is the second time Kinghorn has scored two or more tries in a single game for Scotland, the other time also against Italy on the opening day of the 2019 tournament when he also scored a hat-trick.

Key Opta Facts: Van der Merwe breaks his own record

– Scotland have now won three games in five of the last seven editions of the Six Nations, having won just once in the previous 17 campaigns.

– Italy have lifted the wooden spoon in each of the last eight editions of the Six Nations – it’s their 18th wooden spoon overall, more than any other team in the tournament combined.

– Scotland made 14 offloads against Italy – the highest tally in a Six Nations game since 17 against Italy in 2021; They also conceded just seven turnovers, the lowest tally in a match this year.

– Jack Dempsey made 23 tackles without missing one against Italy; Only once in this year’s Six Nations (Thibaud Flament v Ireland, 26) has a player made more tackles while maintaining a 100 percent track record.

– Van der Merwe beat seven defenders against Italy to take his tally to 33 in this year’s Six Nations. In doing so, he broke the previous record for defenders beaten in a single championship, which he set himself in 2021 (31).

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