It was a special day for Sergio Parisse as he became the Six Nations record appearance holder, as he earnt his 66th cap in Saturday’s 33-20 defeat against Scotland at Murrayfield.
Despite it being a proud day for Italian rugby in the history books, on the pitch Italy again in the Six Nations were lacklustre and uninspiring.
Scotland were comfortable winners and hat-trick hero Blair Kinghorn in particular was superb. The winger was on hand to finish two excellent Scottish backline moves in the first half, as the Scots dominated the half completely.
The Scotts recovered well after going behind through a penalty kick from Italian fly-half Tommaso Allan.
Stuart Hogg was on hand to score after a Finn Russell grubber kick picked him out, before Kinghorn scored again through fantastic footwork.
Chris Harris then scored but consolation tries from Guglielmo Palazzani, Edoardo Padovani and Angelo Esposito put a damper on what should have been a perfect day.
The consolation tries are all Italy can take from the game, as for the vast majority of the game they were incredibly poor. Italy’s squad contains the heaviest pack to ever go to a Six Nations but their weight advantage was pointless as they didn’t use it to their advantage in the slightest.
Head Coach Conor O’Shea is under increasing pressure as some of his tactics, like playing centre Michele Campagnaro on the wing make no sense at all. O’Shea’s record at the Six Nations is abysmal as his Italian side have picked up just one point in 11 games.
Although, the famous cliché; ‘a works man can only do so much with the tools that are at his disposal’ could be used in reference to O’Shea’s record as Head Coach.
An ageing Parisse and Wasps centre Campagnarro are the only two Italian players that oppositions fear, which brings up the question as to should a lot more be done in grassroots Italian rugby?
I still believe there’s more to come from this much improved Scottish side and they won’t be allowed to take their foot off of the gas when they come up against Ireland at Murrayfield next Saturday.
On the other hand, Italy must improve to avoid embarrassment when they take on Wales at the Stadio Olimpico.