Graham marks successful return as Scotland beat Italy


EDINBURGH : Darcy Graham returned to test action with two tries as Scotland beat Italy 25-13 in their Rugby World Cup warm-up test at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The speedy winger, who missed the Six Nations Championship earlier this year because of a knee injury, proved the difference in a scrappy game as both countries played their first international since Scotland’s 26-14 win over the Italians in the Six Nations at Murrayfield in March.

Scotland outscored Italy by three tries to one with replacement Josh Bayliss adding a last-minute try and Ben Healey, battling for a place in the World Cup squad, kicking over two penalties and two conversions.

Monty Ioane scored Italy’s only try with the rest of their points coming off the boot of Tommaso Allan.

Italy had got off to the brighter start but Scotland were first to score in the 13th minute. After rucking close to the visitors’ line, flyhalf Ben Healey kicked cross-field to find Graham with plenty of space on the right wing to go over for the opening try.

But Healey failed with the conversion and Italy clawed their way into a 6-5 half-time lead after Allan put over a pair of penalties.

Scotland missed opportunities when they lost possession in Italy’s 22-metre area twice in the early exchanges of the second half before a scrum infringement allowed the home side to go 8-6 ahead as Healey put over the penalty.

Graham’s speed as he chased a Healey kick in the 56th minute forced an error from Italy’s debutant scrum half Martin Page-Relo and a scrum five metres out, which provided the platform for Scottish halfback Ali Price to pop up a pass for Graham, coming through at pace, to squeeze through a gap in the Italian defence for a second try.

Italy scored their try six minutes later after sustained pressure on the line, finally swinging the ball wide out to the left wing where Ioane dived over.

It was the first test back for Italy for the Australian-based winger since November last year and his try reduced Scotland’s lead to 15-13.

Healey kicked off another penalty before a fast break at the end of the game allowed Bayliss to go over and put some gloss on the scoreline for the Scots.

Scotland will continue their World Cup warm-up campaign with a test at Murrayfield next Saturday against France while Italy travel to Dublin to take on Six Nations winners Ireland.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)


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