PRETORIA (Reuters)- Scotland flanker Alasdair Strockosch crashed over the try-line after the final hooter to secure a dramatic 30-29 victory over Italy at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The try provided a simple conversion chance for Greig Laidlaw to clinch a first win for Scotland in the final game of their three-match tour of South Africa. They lost to Samoa and the Springboks.
Italy dominated the match at scrum time, forcing a penalty try from one set-piece to go with an early score from winger Leonardo Sarto.
Scotland ran the ball well in the opening half and scored tries through Matt Scott and Sean Lamont before snatching victory at the death.
The Italians made a fast start and scored the opening try from the kickoff when left-wing Sarto ghosted through a gap in the Scottish line to touch down 50 seconds into his test debut.
It was an open start and Scotland’s reply was almost instant, lock Tim Swinson finding generous space in the Italian line and his break allowed Scott to score.
Italy were architects of their own downfall for the Scots’ second try as they had the opportunity to clear a ball chipped towards their goal-line, but Gio Venditti inexplicably tried to run the ball out.
When he coughed it up in the tackle, it provided a simple chance for Lamont to touch down under the posts.
Much had been spoken of how crucial the scrums would be in this match and it was obvious from the start that the Italians had the upper hand.
After giving up two scrum penalties in succession five metres from their own line, when Italy provided more pressure at the third attempt, the Scottish pack collapsed and referee Leighton Hodges awarded the penalty try.
The teams traded penalties after that and went into the break locked at 20-20.
The second half became a place-kicking duel with Italian flyhalf Alberto di Bernardo slotting three attempts at goal to end the match with 19 points and put Italy 29-23 ahead with 80 minutes showing on the clock.
But Strockosch collected the ball 15 metres out and after Italy number eight Sergio Parisse had dashed out to try intercept the pass, he broke through a hole in the defensive line to score.
Editing by Ed Osmond