Hogg helps steer Scotland past Italy
Two-time British & Irish Lion Stuart Hogg was at the heart of the action, scoring one try and creating two others, as Scotland got their Six Nations campaign off to a perfect start against Italy.
It doesn’t get any better than to win here at Murrayfield for us.
Young winger Blair Kinghorn took the headlines after becoming the first Scottish player to notch a hat-trick in a Six Nations match during the 33-20 triumph but Hogg helped the hosts tick in Edinburgh.
After Kinghorn had collected a cross-field kick from 2017 Lion Finn Russell to dot down his first, the 22-year-old got his second thanks to a triple Lions connection.
Scrum-half Greig Laidlaw, another member of the party on that 2017 Tour of New Zealand, switched the play before Russell and Hogg combined to draw in the defence and free Kinghorn to dive over.
Early in the second half, Hogg was quickest to Russell’s little grubber through and touched down to make it 19-3 before Laidlaw assisted Kinghorn to complete his hat-trick.
A searing Hogg break set up try number five as Chris Harris crossed the whitewash a phase later and the 26-year-old full-back thought he had a second try as he sliced through a static Italian defence and dived over in the corner but play was called back for an obstruction.
44′ | TRY Scotland
It’s a strong start to the half for Scotland as we have our third try of the match through Stuart Hogg.
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 2, 2019
Three late tries from the Azzurri added some respectability to the scoreline but it was Scotland’s day and skipper Laidlaw – who played a joint-Tour high 6 non-Test matches for The 2017 Lions – was content with their performance, although wants to see even more against Ireland next week.
“It doesn’t get any better than to win here at Murrayfield for us and we were pretty happy with how the middle part of the game went; we put Italy under a lot of pressure,” said Laidlaw.
“I think we’ve got a couple things to work on going into the game next week but I see that as a positive.
“Against a quality opponent like Ireland you cannot afford to let a Test slip like that. We were well in control but we gave away the momentum by probably being less aggressive near the end and slipping up on our tackles.
“But it will heighten our awareness for the quality team that is coming here next weekend so it’s important to recover and come back.”