Six Nations: Scotland thrash Italy in record-breaking win

Scott Steele (right) celebrates after scoring Scotland's sixth try against Italy. Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images

Scotland ran in eight tries to ensure a record 52-10 victory over Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday and a return to winning ways after successive narrow defeats in the Six Nations.

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David Cherry (two), Duhan van der Merwe (two), Darcy Graham, Huw Jones, Scott Steele and Sam Johnson all went over for tries while captain Stuart Hogg, in a rare outing at fly-half, contributed six conversions.

Italy had opened the scoring with hooker Luca Bigi dotting down in the sixth minute, but that was to prove their only try of the game, which young fly-half Paolo Garbisi converted. Garbisi later added a first-half penalty.

The 42-point winning margin for the Scots bettered their previous record success over Italy when they won 48-7 in a World Cup warmup at Murrayfield in 2015.

The victory for the Scots, who were 24-10 ahead at half time, follows their close losses to Wales and Ireland and means they have now won two and lost two in this year's championship, with their final fixture to come against France in Paris on Friday.

"The result was the most pleasing aspect and we have no injuries to boot," said Scotland coach Gregor Townsend.

Italian euphoria after Bigi's try, at the end of a line-out maul, was all too brief as Scotland scored five minutes later from a maul of their own with hooker Cherry bursting over on his full debut.

A midfield break by Jones was completed by Van der Merwe on the left wing in the 14th minute, and when Italy were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes midway through the first half by the yellow card handed to Federico Mori, Scotland scored twice more through Graham and Jones, both at the end of strong running from the backs.

"It's a heavy defeat for us. There were too many errors which you cannot make this level," said Italy coach Franco Smith.

Cherry went over for a second try from another maul soon after the break, and when Italy were again reduced by a man for 10 minutes, when Sebastian Negri was sent to the sin-bin in the 52nd minute, Scotland took advantage of the numerical superiority with scrum-half Scott Steele darting over.

Italy suffered a third yellow card for winger Monty Ioane, with their ill-discipline effectively meaning they spent 30 minutes of the match down to 14 men.

Centre Johnson powered his way over for the seventh Scottish try with 15 minutes left, and van der Merwe's second came after a turn over from 40 metres out in the closing stages.

It was Italy's 32nd successive Six Nations loss, leaving them rooted to the bottom of the table without a single point.