Ireland vs England LIVE: Six Nations 2023 build-up and updates as Ireland aim to seal grand slam

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The final game of the 2023 Six Nations will see Ireland try to seal a grand slam on home turf for the first time. Only old rivals England stand in their way.

Ireland have claimed three grand slams in their long history but not one of them has ended in Dublin, which promises to make this St Patrick’s Day weekend all the more special for the men in green, providing they can see off an England team in crisis.

Andy Farrell’s Ireland are the undisputed No 1 side in the world and have swept aside all-comers during the championship, while England have struggled to consistently improve the tailspin they found themselves in towards the end of the Eddie Jones era, under new coach Steve Borthwick.

Decent wins over Italy and Wales were immediately forgotten as they suffered a record home defeat to France at Twickenham last time out, being completely outclassed by a rampant Les Bleus and leaving them in no doubt where they stand in the pecking order just six months out from a World Cup. If they can bounce back to beat an unstoppable-looking Irish team at the Aviva Stadium, then it will go down as one of the all-time great Six Nations shocks.

Follow live coverage from the Aviva Stadium below after the conclusion of France vs Wales:

Ireland vs England - live Six Nations updates

  • Full live coverage of Ireland vs England following the conclusion of France vs Wales

  • Ireland host England in the final match of the 2023 Six Nations

  • Ireland will seal an impressive grand slam with victory - something they have never accomplished in Dublin before

  • England are aiming to bounce back from a humiliation by France at Twickenham last week but are heavy underdogs

  • Scotland beat Italy 26-14 in a thriller to kick off Super Saturday

France 10-7 Wales, 29 minutes

15:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Welsh hands get to Julien Marchand’s throw, but knock it on. France’s scrum inside the Welsh 22.

Wyn Jones’ elbow hits the deck - penalty to the hosts. Jones shakes his head.

France 10-7 Wales, 28 minutes

15:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A horrible moment all-round from Wales. Rhys Webb completely misses Dan Biggar with his pass after the fly-half drops back to prepare for a long clearance, and Louis Rees-Zammit then kicks out on the full.

PENALTY! FRANCE 10-7 Wales (Thomas Ramos penalty, 26 minutes)

15:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Thomas Ramos rewards his Toulouse teammate’s breakdown scavenging with three points, putting France into their first lead of the afternoon.

France 7-7 Wales, 25 minutes

15:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Wales throw another of those swift lineouts to the front, two forwards connecting well and allowing Rhys Webb to kick long.

But this is potentially bad news for Warren Gatland: Alun Wyn Jones is being removed having been called for an HIA by the doctor. Daffyd Jenkins on.

And that has been coming - Julien Marchand wins a breakdown penalty.

France 7-7 Wales, 24 minutes

15:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

France’s jackalers are just starting to disrupt Wales’ ball, forcing more red shirts to pile in to each breakdown and leaving their side under-resourced elsewhere. Dan Biggar has only Justin Tipuric with him as he attacks the blindside, with the flanker forced to hold his chase having been ahead of his fly-half as Biggar props ahead. Jonathan Danty flips the field with a right-footed riposte.

France 7-7 Wales, 22 minutes

15:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Aside from Damian Penaud’s brilliant score, France haven’t quite found their attacking fluency. A fumble on the right allows Wales to hack a loose ball ahead, with Rio Dyer haring after it.

Ethan Dumortier and Antoine Dupont extricate themselves from a bit of a predicament, and the scrum-half clears to touch.

France 7-7 Wales, 21 minutes

15:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Down the burly men go in a heap again but Antoine Dupont is ordered to play the ball away. He does, and Romain Ntamack clears.

The fly-half fails to find touch but it matters not, with France’s chase perfectly formed and Romain Taofifenua getting in over the top to win a holding on penalty.

France 7-7 Wales, 19 minutes

15:09 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Justin Tipuric reaches back to claim Ken Owens’s long lineout throw, just about retaining possession as he comes back down to earth.

Taulupe Faletau and Tomas Francis combine intricately to send Tipuric into a soft shoulder. Alun Wyn Jones seeks something equally extravagant, holding the ball in one hand and palming it towards George North. The centre spills the lock’s offload.

France 7-7 Wales, 19 minutes

15:06 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Just a penalty - the officials are satisfied that Fickou has not driven the veteran lock into the floor, and a relatively soft landing means there is no need for a card.

Wales still impressing, though - this has been their best 20 minutes of the championship so far.

France 7-7 Wales, 18 minutes

15:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

France try to work Damian Penaud into the line from their lineout launch play, but the hands aren’t quite precise enough, and the wing spills.

Eek - that looks like a slightly dangerous challenge from Gael Fickou, lifting and driving Alun Wyn Jones into the ground. Joy Neville in the TMO truck will be employed again.

France 7-7 Wales, 16 minutes

15:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

France try to disassemble that platform by cratering the Welsh scrum. Their first attempt is not rewarded with Nic Berry unhappy with the initial stability on the engage, but Tomas Francis and Wyn Jones are peeled back for a second time, the combined heft of Romain Taofifenua and Atonio too much for the latter to handle.

France 7-7 Wales, 15 minutes

15:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Nope, that’s a fair attempt to grasp the ball from the enormous French tighthead, tapping it back into his brow before it then spills forward. Slightly curiously, Nic Berry still gives Wales a scrum despite having called advantage over for what he had initially deemed a knock on - a perfect attacking platform for the visitors, 20 metres out and dead centre.

France 7-7 Wales, 15 minutes

15:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

France attack the breakdown hard, but Wales’ clearers are doing a fine job so far, keeping Julien Marchand and co. off their ball.

Ooh - was that a deliberate knock-on? Uini Atonio’s hand came reaching through, and Nic Berry wants to check it with TMO Joy Neville...

France 7-7 Wales, 14 minutes

15:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

France also take their lineout with haste, not wanting Wales to form a potential challenge. Antoine Dupont clears to about his own ten-metre line.

France 7-7 Wales, 13 minutes

14:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Nic Berry ends up sandwiched between the two loosehead props at the front of a hastily taken Welsh lineout, but the Australian referee is happy for the visitors to continue, content he has had no material impact on Cyril Baille’s attempted challenge.

Wales initially make good ground and Rhys Webb lifts a clever box kick into the corner, with France watching it into touch.

TRY! FRANCE 7-7 Wales (Damian Penaud try, 11 minutes)

14:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Stop it! Sensational from France to strike back!

Just delightful from the French half-backs. Romain Ntamack takes a pull-back pass from Thomas Ramos, sashaying away from Nick Tompkins rather easily. Two more dummies allow the fly-half to foxtrot between the Welsh backfield defenders, connecting with his Toulouse teammate Antoine Dupont.

Dupont skips away from a tackler and has the vision to find Damian Penaud on the wide outside. A perfect touchline conversion from Thomas Ramos levels things up.

France 0-7 Wales, 10 minutes

14:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

France started at a canter against both Scotland and England so this is a different test for Fabien Galthie’s men. Jonathan Danty is caught high as he tries to explore the outside. Advantage coming...

TRY! France 0-7 WALES (George North try, 8 minutes)

14:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And George North slices through!

What a start from Wales! They constrict the French defence as the maul gets a march on, Ken Owens eventually dragged down illegally a metre short. The advantage prompts a wider pass, Rhys Webb unfurling a loquacious ball that whispers in the faces of the approaching French defence as it flies beyond them into North’s hands. In slides the outside centre untouched, ensuring a simple conversion for Dan Biggar.

France 0-0 Wales, 7 minutes

14:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Wales are shut down as they try to go wider, but only due to an offside French defender. Rhys Webb puts too much loft on his crossfield clip.

Dan Biggar pokes the penalty into the corner. Wales’ third attacking five-metre lineout of the first seven minutes.

France 0-0 Wales, 5 minutes

14:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Wales shift the point of attack, flicking off the top to Taulupe Faletau at the tail to drive from there. It does not work - France’s forwards steel themselves and prevent any progress,

Adam Beard just about extracts the ball before Nic Berry awards a turnover. Rhys Webb plays away.

France 0-0 Wales, 4 minutes

14:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A relatively shallow drop-kick from France and Wales remain in good attacking position. Intense and direct from Welsh forwards, with both centres lending their carrying weight, too.

Advantage drawn. Louis Rees-Zammit plays the speculator, trying to conjure something from his sleeve but missing the mark with a blind offload in the vague direction of Rio Dyer. Back for the penalty; again Wales go to the corner.

France 0-0 Wales, 2 minutes

14:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Held up! It looked like there might have been a knock-on in the meat of the maul from Ken Owens, too, but France are happy enough with a goalline dropout as they hold out on their line and keep Wyn Jones up off the deck.

France 0-0 Wales, 1 minute

14:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

France immmediately clear long to Louis Rees-Zammit, who runs back into the French chasers, unable to get any change out of them. Wyn Jones does, however, make good ground in a more direct manner.

Gregory Alldritt is the first French player to contest a breakdown, but gets his angle of entry wrong. He’s penalised; Wales kick to the corner through Dan Biggar’s accurate right boot.


14:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

France against Wales is underway.

France vs Wales

14:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The remote controlled mini Renault Megane delivers the match ball to the middle, a young Frenchman given the honour of a false kick-off, booting the ball firmly away.

It is returned to Dan Biggar, who will deliver the proper start to proceedings.

Match Officials

14:44 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Referee: Nic Berry (Aus)

ARs: Andrew Brace (Ire) & Christophe Ridley (Eng)

TMO: Joy Neville (Ire)

La Marseillaise

14:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The Stade de France lifts the noise levels for “La Marseillaise“.

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

14:42 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Taulupe Faletau stands next to two of Wales’ newer faces, Tommy Reffell and Louis Rees-Zammit joining the veteran number eight in launching into the opening notes of “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau”. The emotion is clear in the eyes of Alun Wyn Jones and George North, the former particularly - this is surely the lock’s Six Nations farewell after 66 caps, the second most in competition history (Sergio Parisse, 69).

France vs Wales

14:39 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Faletau leads the Welsh squad out on to the Stade de France surface, with the Saint-Denis stadium already bouncing. A bonus point win would take France top of the Six Nations table, of course.

One hundred up for Taulupe Faletau

14:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Warren Gatland this week suggested as many as eight players could be making their final Six Nations appearance in a Welsh shirt, so this may be a day tinged with plenty of emotion for some of his old-stagers. Taulupe Faletau has been an outstanding servant for Wales and one of their better performers during a tough campaign - the centurion normally relishes the biggest games and won’t let his side go out meekly on his special day.

Rio Dyer feels week in the sun has lifted Wales’ morale ahead of France clash

14:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Rio Dyer believes that a week in the sun has helped boost Wales’ morale ahead of their Guinness Six Nations finale against France.

Wales flew to Nice following victory over Italy in Rome last weekend, where they fine-tuned their preparations to face Les Bleus on Saturday.

A difficult Six Nations campaign – three defeats and one win – also saw the threat of a players’ strike as off-field issues dominated.

Although a strike was averted ahead of Wales’ appointment with England, the whole saga still left its mark.

“There has been a lot of pressure back in Wales, and for the whole of Welsh rugby it has been a difficult challenge,” Wales wing Dyer said.

“But we have been out in a different place in the sun, not the snow and rain, and that has brought the morale of the boys up a bit.”

Rio Dyer feels week in the sun has lifted Wales’ morale ahead of France clash

Team News - Wales

14:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

One final spin of the Warren Gatland selection wheel for the 2023 Six Nations sees the Wales head coach go back to some of the more experienced members of his squad. Taulupe Faletau brings up cap number 100 at number eight, and is joined in the pack by Alun Wyn Jones, back amongst things after being left out entirely against Italy.

Also in to the starting group of forwards is Aaron Wainwright, a favourite of the last years of the first Gatland regime but in for the first time this championship. Dan Biggar returns at fly-half while Nick Tompkins and George North take over in the centres, with Louis Rees-Zammit’s sparkle preferred to Leigh Halfpenny’s solidity at full-back after Liam Williams’s injury.

Wales XV: Wyn Jones, Ken Owens (capt.), Tomas Francis; Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones; Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau; Rhys Webb, Dan Biggar; Rio Dyer, Nick Tompkins, George North, Josh Adams; Louis Rees-Zammit.

Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Daffyd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell; Tomos Williams, Owen Williams, Leigh Halfpenny.

Team News - France

14:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

After that dynamite display at Twickenham a week ago, Fabien Galthie makes only two changes to his French starting fifteen. Paul Willemse was a casualty of the efforts against England, but Romain Taofifenua provides appropriately beefy back-up to the lock, and forms a burly right-side of the French scrum with Uini Atonio cleared to return after his suspension.

Taofifenua’s elevation leaves space on the bench for another lock, with Bastien Chalureau of Montepellier readied for a Six Nations debut.

France XV: Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio; Thibaud Flament, Romain Taofifenua; Francois Cros, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt; Antoine Dupont (capt.), Romain Ntamack; Ethan Dumortier, Jonathan Danty, Gael Fickou, Damian Penaud; Thomas Ramos.

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Reda Wardi, Sipili Falatea, Bastien Chalureau, Sekou Macalou; Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana, Melvyn Jaminet.

On to France vs Wales...

14:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

We’ve hardly time to draw breath before the second Super Saturday instalment, so it’s time for a swift switch of focus to affairs in Paris.

There will be plenty more reaction to Scotland’s win over Italy across The Independent this weekend, but for now, on to France vs Wales...

F/T: Scotland 26-14 Italy

14:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A neat encapsulation of Italy’s tournament in those final moments there - so close, and yet so far for Kieran Crowley’s side, who ultimately end with another wooden spoon. Scotland’s bonus-point victory should secure them third place, a just final result for another campaign of plenty of positives.


14:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

TRY! SCOTLAND 26-14 Italy (Blair Kinghorn try, 81 minutes)

14:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A hat-trick, a bonus point - Scotland go the length to finish with a flourish!

So, so cruel on Italy, from metres short to underneath their own posts in an instant. Italy are penalised at the scrum so Ali Price says “why not?”, passing away to his left.

Duhan van der Merwe makes the initial bust on the outside, supported by Blair Kinghorn, equally long of leg and impressive on the gallop. Despairing Italian tacklers dive at his heels but can’t bring the striding thoroughbred down. For a second time, Kinghorn has a Six Nations hat-trick against Italy, and Scotland will add five more points to their final 2023 Six Nations tally.

Scotland 19-14 Italy, 79 minutes

14:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Knocked on! Michele Lamaro cries foul - surely there was a Scottish tackler offside? “I can’t check it,” Angus Gardner says, sticking with his call of a Scottish scrum.

See this out and the hosts will be there...

Scotland 19-14 Italy, 78 minutes

14:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Thrice Italy are nearly there but Scotland just about hold firm! The boulder-like Manfredi’s initial surge is sharp, darting to within a metre, and Marco Zanon nearly biffs through. Alessandro Garbisi dives for the line between two Scottish bodies but loses control.

Back for another penalty as Jamie Ritchie is warned about his side’s discipline.

Scotland 19-14 Italy, 77 minutes

14:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy’s forwards power into the Scottish fringe defence, getting little joy. Wide, Juan Ignacio Brex tumbles as he takes...but Scotland are offside.

Penalty to the visitors. Five points, three minutes. What’s the call? Marco Manfredi will quick tap...

Scotland 19-14 Italy, 76 minutes

14:14 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A break up the right from Pierre Bruno, and Italy win a penalty. Prodded into the corner with four minutes left. This feels very, very like Cardiff last year.

Scotland 19-14 Italy, 74 minutes

14:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tommmaso Allan’s smartly taken score and a Paolo Garbisi penalty leave Italy within striking distance as they seek another famous final day Six Nations triumph:

Scotland 19-14 Italy, 73 minutes

14:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

But can’t pounce as Matt Fagerson knocks on! A slightly needless pass from WP Nel, who has space in front of him to rumble but instead fizzes in the direction of the replacement back-row, who is taken man-and-ball and spills forward.

Scotland 19-13 Italy, 73 minutes

14:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy’s second debutant of the day is introduced - welcome to international rugby, Marco Manfredi, with the hooker tasked with throwing a lineout inside his own 22 immediately.

And Scotland steal it!...

Scotland 19-14 Italy, 72 minutes

14:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

More replacements come on, WP Nel on the Scottish tighthead and Marco Zanon in the Italian backline.

Ben Healy’s up-and-under is tapped back into Scottish hands. Ali Price twice makes smart decisions, directing his box kicks towards the touchline nicely, with the second of them hopping into touch.

Scotland 19-14 Italy, 69 minutes

14:08 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A mighty smite from Federico Ruzza to earn Italy a penalty! The danger klaxons begin to sound for the visitors as Scotland swell again after Price’s scamper, but a carrier is rocked back by the lock, making his 18th tackle and earning a penalty as Scotland dive off their feet to protect the ball.

Scotland 19-13 Italy, 68 minutes

14:06 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ali Price breaks away! A brilliant Italian turnover inside the Scotland 22 but a loose offload allows the repalcement Scotland scrum-half to snatch the ball out of the sky and hurry out of danger.

He’s eventually hauled in by Tommaso Allan deep inside the Italy half.

Scotland 19-14 Italy, 68 minutes

14:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland need to re-energise both themselves and the crowd, with the home side having lost their way almost entirely since Blair Kinghorn’s second score.

Now this could be a significant moment - a switch at fly-half, with Ben Healy on for his Scotland debut and tasked with seeing things out. Kinghorn remains on, moving to full-back with Ollie Smith replaced.

Cameron Redpath takes over from Sione Tuipulotu at inside centre.

PENALTY! Scotland 19-14 ITALY (Paolo Garbisi penalty, 66 minutes)

14:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Paolo Garbisi takes over kicking duties from Tommaso Allan, with the angle favouring his left boot. Garbisi’s first strike of the day is clean, and Italy are within a single score.

Scotland 19-11 Italy, 65 minutes

14:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Now then. For the first time in a long while the Italian horns sound in the stands with the home crowd still flat. Manuel Zuliani jackals to win both a turnover and a penalty out of Sione Tuipulotu after the centre had retreated to retrieve his fumble.

Michele Lamaro points at the posts.

TRY! Scotland 19-11 ITALY (Tommaso Allan try, 63 minutes)

13:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy finally unlock the Scottish defence! That is wonderfully taken by their play-making partnership, Tommaso Allan capitalising on a delectably dribbled through-pass from Paolo Garbisi.

Scotland failed to find touch after winning possession, allowing Pierre Bruno and Simone Gesi to run the ball back. Juan Ignacio Brex injects himself at first receiver, allowing Garbisi and Allan to add width in the next phase in the pattern.

Garbisi takes his brother’s pass and drops the ball on to his left in-step, weighting his little grubber perfectly to allow Allan to take without breaking stride and score in the left corner.

Allan’s conversion isn’t quite there.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 61 minutes

13:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Right, time for Italy to live this up a little? Gioacomo Nicotera is still rumbling away, hitting his lineout target to allow his side to build inside the Scotland 22 and offering hismelf twice as a carrier.

That’s nice - Juan Ignacio Brex picks a lovely pass to centre partner Luca Morisi at the line.

But Scotland have it. A bold offload from Paolo Garbisi hits lifted limbs and ends up back in home hands.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 59 minutes

13:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A long period with the ball in play ends when a tired Scottish forward strays offside, enabling everyone to draw a much-needed breath.

A trio of changes for Scotland: enter Ali Price, Rory Sutherland and Scott Cummings; exit Ben White, Pierre Schoeman and Jonny Gray.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 57 minutes

13:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There’s just a sense that some of the intensity has gone out of the contest with Murrayfield quiet and the game in a bit of a holding pattern. Italy can’t make much of possession near halfway and Paolo Garbisi’s purposeless left-ward lift won’t bring any joy, either.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 56 minutes

13:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The Murrayfield surface churns up beneath 32 pumping feet as the two sets of forwards lock scrum horns. Danilo Fischetti is picked out as the cause of an eventual collapse.

After a typically busy afternoon, that is Fischetti’s final act - Federico Zani comes on, joined by prop partner Pietro Ceccarelli, who takes the place of Marco Riccioni.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 55 minutes

13:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An intelligent cross-kick from Tommaso Allan finds Luca Morisi on the left, but Kyle Steyn scrags the centre and hauls him towards touch. Morisi manages to release a pass of sorts, and it bounces up into Simone Gesi’s hands, but not before travelling forward.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 54 minutes

13:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Through the hands at the tail and a chance goes begging! A slight overthrow, maybe, and Matt Fagerson is sharply on to it to allow Scotland to clear.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 53 minutes

13:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy’s maul still seems in good working order, chugging away up the right to earn the visitors a third penalty in quick succession. Paolo Garbisi asks his forwards to go again.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 52 minutes

13:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

We’ve got three sets of siblings out there, now - Alessandro Garbisi joins brother Paolo in Italy halves, with the brothers Fagerson and Cannone all still amongst things.

Italy win another penalty and kick into the Scotland 22.

Blair Kinghorn’s double has allowed Scotland to open up a significant lead early in the second half (Getty Images)
Blair Kinghorn’s double has allowed Scotland to open up a significant lead early in the second half (Getty Images)

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 51 minutes

13:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Matt Fagerson is introduced in the Scotland back-row and immediately infringes, catching Lorenzo Cannone high to gift Italy an easy clearance.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 50 minutes

13:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Pierre Schoeman steals Italian possession on halfway and Scotland play. Sione Tuipulotu and Hamish Watson each meander in search of space, keeping things flowing as they bend left and right.

Kyle Steyn scythes through a tackle, before Tuipulotu drops ball to boot to intelligently spin the Italian defensive line. The ball tumbles out of play seven metres short of the line.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 48 minutes

13:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A horrible final pass! Accuracy was Italy’s problem last week and it costs them again here, Alessandro Fusco deftly gliding through a hole around the fringes and looking to his left, where Simone Gesi waits for a pass. Fusco drills it three feet ahead of his wing, who has not a hope of claiming it. Head coach Kieran Crowley lifts his hands to his head.

Scotland 19-6 Italy, 47 minutes

13:41 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s Negri’s last involvement, with the back-row looking to be carrying a knock of some kind as promising back-row Manuel Zuliani relieves him. Edoardo Iachizzi is replaced, too - Niccolo Cannone returns after an earlier involvement in the encounter while the lock underwent an HIA.

TRY! SCOTLAND 19-6 Italy (Blair Kinghorn try, 45 minutes)

13:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A second try for Blair Kinghorn!

That’s what a six-foot-five fly-half can do! Scottish forwards bash booming fists on the Italian door, weakening the hinges before their ten crashes through. Kinghorn picks a spot between Juan Ignacio Brex and Sebastian Negri and shoulders their tackles to push through to the line.

Kinghorn converts from the tee and can go in search of a second Six Nations hat-trick against Italy.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 43 minutes

13:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

What a tackle from Lamaro! The openside piles in alongside Giacomo Nicotera to somehow hold Scotland short as the carrier appeared ready to ground over the line.

Scotland continue, though...

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 42 minutes

13:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Michele Lamaro looks totally perplexed. The Italian captain is penalised for going off his feet seconds after Angus Gardner appears to clear teammate Cannone’s turnover, Lamaro demanding a detailed explanation and not entirely satisified by the referee’s explanation.

Still, penalty to Scotland, who return to Italy’s 22.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 41 minutes

13:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Enterprising play initially from Italy to start the half, Lorenzo Cannone carrying in a forthright manner and swift transfers then freeing Pierre Bruno to nearly escape Duhan van der Merwe’s clutches. But Scotland soon snaffle breakdown ball.

Second half...

13:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland and Italy are back out there, Gregor Townsend and his staff re-taking their seats behind the desk in the home coaching box.

Blair Kinghorn will get things back underway.

An injured Stuart Hogg gives his half-time thoughts to the BBC

13:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“We’ll back ourselves to score points. There have been some good things and not so good things - the Italians are a gritty bunch. I think we’ll count ourselves lucky not to have conceded, to be honest.

“You’ve got to work really hard for your points. The Italians were incredibly disciplined in what they were doing. You could see how knackered they were at times. I love that Scotland at the end of the half could have easily kicked it off, but I loved the enthusiasm and energy to go for it.”

H/T: Scotland 12-6 Italy

13:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy survived the yellow card period for just the concession of that single score, which keeps them in the game. It looked early on as if Kieran Crowley had shifted his strategy slightly, with Tommaso Allan doing lots of early kicking from hand at first receiver, but later on in the half the Italian attack begin to work nicely with Paolo Garbisi controlling effectively.

But they’ve had to do a lot of defending so far: Danilo Fischetti and Federico Ruzza have both already made 14 tackles, and while this Italian side is fit, you could feel them fatiguing a little in that extended offensive movement towards the end of the first half.

H/T: Scotland 12-6 Italy

13:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Both coaches will feel a little disappointed with that half, each side guilty of wasting opportunities and time inside the opposition 22 - Scotland particularly so. The home side did score twice, with Duhan van der Merwe taking his score brilliantly before Blair Kinghorn capitalised on an under-resourced Italian defence to ensure a half-time Scottish lead.


13:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 43 minutes

13:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A try-saving intervening hand from Simone Gesi! We’ve seen so little of the debutant so far but that’s a vital moment in the first half’s throes, somehow getting back to deny a certain Scottish score.

It was lovely play from Scotland, Duhan van der Merwe used as a link-man off his wing to create an overlap which Kyle Steyn exploits. Steyn lobs an offload in the direction of Ollie Smith with line agape, but Gesi somehow lassos it, allowing his teammates to smother the ball into touch and take us to the interval.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 42 minutes

13:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And Italy eventually run totally out of puff - Sebastian Negri looks exhausted as he falls into Zander Fagerson, who jackals strongly to win Scotland a penalty.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 41 minutes

13:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

One last go for the visitors before the half comes to a close. Their initial efforts don’t promise much but Paolo Garbisi, Juan Ignacio Brex and Tommaso Allan combine effectively, and the momentum is reloaded.

Danilo Fischetti hits a sharp line off Garbisi’s shoulder, but Alessandro Fusco is forced to go in to secure the ball, slowing Italy again.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 40 minutes

13:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An extended passage leaves both sets of players gasping, with Scotland’s edges just starting to fray. Zander Fagerson waits to take a pass in a wider channel than the tighthead might usually occupy, and he can’t quite reach for it. Jamie Ritchie knocks on and plays the ball on the floor - penalty to Italy, who are then restored to full complement by the returns of Marco Riccioni and Simone Gesi.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 39 minutes

13:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italian hands knock the ball on in the air and a group of forwards had failed to retreat, too, prompting an arm of advantage from Angus Gardner. Scotland can thus play extravagantly, with Sione Tuipulotu among those adding the fancy touches.

Advantage is over as Sam Skinner thumps through a tackle to get towards the Italian 22.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 36 minutes

13:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Three minutes left on Marco Riccioni’s sin-binning but Italy seem to be doing fine without their tighthead. They play with terrific patience, Alessandro Fusco picking his runners nicely and then going himself when a chance appears.

Around the corner come the coal trimmers, Edoardo Iachizzi and Federico Ruzza out of the engine room and ready to make dents, but the lock pair aren’t quite on the same page, with a short pass colliding with Ruzza’s forehead and ending back in Iachizzi’s hands. Scotland’s scrum for offside.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 34 minutes

13:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Angus Gardner rewards Danilo Fischetti for his scrum-time efforts this time, with Italy happy to let some seconds tick by before Paolo Garbisi unfurls another lengthy punt to touch. The visitors return to advanced territory for the first time in a while, with Edoardo Iachizzi back amongst their number after passing his HIA.

Scotland 12-6 Italy, 32 minutes

13:09 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Smart thinking from Scotland, flinging the ball out to Kyle Steyn on the right wing knowing that Simone Gesi is off, allowing the former sevens star to make easy metres up the touchline.

Italy re-form well as Scotland spread to the left. But Jack Dempsey pops free, scurrying away from a pair of Italians after a messy breakdown and connecting with Duhan van der Merwe.

Bosh! Van der Merwe collides Sebastian Negri in a rather beefy meeting, with the Italian back-row getting the better of it. Knocked on - Italy’s scrum.

TRY! SCOTLAND 12-6 Italy (Blair Kinghorn try, 30 minutes)

13:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

At last, Scotland go over!

A midfield scrum leaves Italy in all sorts of defensive bother having sacrificed a back. Ben White picks the left, holding the inside defenders by threatening a carry and then finding his half-back partner. Blair Kinghorn steps inside Alessandro Fusco and through Michele Lamaro’s low tackle to score Scotland’s second. He knocks through the conversion, too.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 29 minutes

13:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Poor Simone Gesi has played half-an-hour of international rugby and his first major involvement will be a ten-minute removal to allow the introduction of Pietro Ceccarelli as Scotland call for another scrum.

Yellow card! Marco Riccioni is sent to the sin bin! Scotland 5-6 Italy, 29 minutes

13:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Down it goes again, and off Riccioni will go. That feels very harsh on the Italian tighthead - it looked like the scrum went down first on the other side, with Zander Fagerson looking to turn in under pressure from Danilo Fischetti. But you felt Angus Gardner’s mind might already have been made up - the Australian referee retrieves his yellow card and dispatches the Saracens prop for a ten minute sit-down.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 27 minutes

13:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Marco Riccioni is pinged again. The Italian tighthead and his front-row mates are summoned for a stern warning from Angus Gardner, with captain Michele Lamaro told a card may be coming.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 27 minutes

13:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A scrum penalty for Scotland as Italy once again draw Angus Gardner’s whistle with an early transference of weight into Scottish shoulders.

Jamie Ritchie doesn’t fancy three. Down again for another engagement.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 26 minutes

13:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland build the phases again, seven, eight, nine and still five metres short. Lorenzo Cannone leads a counter-ruck and the ball pops into Italian hands, but not before a little knock-on on the floor.

Scotland get another chance. They could do with another moment of magic like their opening score:

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 24 minutes

12:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The scrum goes down, with referee Angus Gardner delivering some instructions to both front rows in an attempt to solve the issues. He asks for better height on the reset.

Free kick to Scotland - too much weight on from Italy. The hosts tap and go...

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 23 minutes

12:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And Italy survive again! Jamie Ritchie is hoisted early but George Turner’s throw comes late, and the Scotland captain knocks on in the air with no Italian competing.

That’s an extended period in the opposition 22 without points for Scotland. All a little too wasteful from the home side.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 22 minutes

12:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Edoardo Iachizzi will need an HIA after his head collided with Schoeman’s knee. Niccolo Cannone joins his younger brother Lorenzo in the Italy pack.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 21 minutes

12:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland’s maul is once more stalled so it is back to their mighty wing menace, Duhan van der Merwe drawing three Italian defenders and still proving tough to stop.

Ben White snipes to within a matter of inches. Pierre Schoeman waits to biff over...dropped with the line in sight! Schoeman was just a little static as he paused to take a pop pass, and a firm contact to the ball knocks it loose.

Hang on - TMO Brett Cronan believes Edoardo Iachizzi hasn’t quite wrapped his arms. Scotland get a penalty for a no-arms tackle, Schoeman gets a reprieve.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 19 minutes

12:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Maul, and George Turner breaks away...a metre shy. Jonny Gray lumbers it up, and then Zander Fagerson too.

Now wide, behind George Turner to Blair Kinghorn and then on to Ollie Smith. Kinghorn again...bundled towards touch.

Kinghorn managed to hurl a desperate offload infield just before his boots were chalked - an Italian leg sent the ball out so Scotland will throw a five-metre lineout on the opposite touchline.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 18 minutes

12:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy’s accuracy again lets them down, though, and Scotland pour through, driving Italy back. That’s not a good sight, either - Danilo Fischetti is staggering about with an apparent injury.

Italy’s chasing forwards are then offside as Paolo Garbisi’s kick fails to make the touchline. Edoardo Iachizzi is also struggling with an injury of some kind, but both he and tight five colleague Fischetti will form part of the defensive Italian lineout as Scotland kick to the right corner.

Scotland 5-6 Italy, 17 minutes

12:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy’s restart drill is competent enough and Allan boots the ball long into the Scottish backfield, from where the hosts will run it back.

Thrice forward carriers are stalled, so it is to the air for Ben White, too, flighting his box slightly too far and allowing Paolo Garbisi to step elegantly beyond two chasers.

Tommaso Menoncello also puts some lively footwork on, but is just about hauled down as Simone Gesi begins to get excited outside his centre.

PENALTY! Scotland 5-6 ITALY (Tommaso Allan penalty, 16 minutes)

12:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Neatly popped through by Tommaso Allan, now hitting the fairways after that early errant effort. Italy back in front.

Scotland 5-3 Italy, 15 minutes

12:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

I think it would be safe to say that restarts will be a work-on for virtually all the Six Nations coaches after this campaign - every side in the competition has struggled at times with kick receipt after scoring. Jack Dempsey isolates himself as he runs away from his support in to a brace of Italian front rowers, Giacomo Nicotera dumping him on his back and allowing Marco Riccioni to lock over the top of the ball.

Tommaso Allan gestures for the tee for a third time in these opening 15 minutes.

TRY! SCOTLAND 5-3 Italy (Duhan van der Merwe try, 13 minutes)

12:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

What a finish from Duhan van der Merwe!

Superb from the giant wing! Huw Jones skips away from the Italian defence and fades to the outside, creating room to pass flat to Van der Merwe on the run.

Paolo Garbisi rushes across and collides with the far larger man, sending his feet spinning out into the Firth of Forth, but Van der Merwe reaches a long right arm back in to play, contorting around the corner flag to place firmly and score before his toes hit the deck.

Scotland 0-3 Italy, 12 minutes

12:42 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Hint of an overlap...away from the waiting players! Italy just about rush up in time to hassle Blair Kinghorn playing the link out the back, with the fly-half’s flick missing two teammates outside him.

But Scotland daren’t dally - George Turner taps and goes quickly, and has Van der Merwe managed to acrobatically dot down in the corner?

Scotland 0-3 Italy, 11 minutes

12:41 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy’s maul defence is rather better formed than their hosts’ was a few minutes ago, but Duhan van der Merwe ensures Scotland retain some form of momentum by skipping by a couple of would-be tacklers.

Sione Tuipulotu shows brightly on a couple of occasions, niftily shifting on from his chest to Van der Merwe as he is tackled low. Advantage coming; pressure building...

Scotland 0-3 Italy, 9 minutes

12:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Italy have kicked possession every time they’ve had it so far, but there’s the adventure we’ve so associated them with during this tournament, forwards and backs playing to width inside their own 22. A wayward pass hits the deck to end that particular exploration, and Alessandro Fusco is forced to rather hurry a box kick away.

It fails to find touch and back come Scotland, with Edoardo Iachizzi pinged for grabbing Ben White before the scrum-half has hands on the ball. Scotland poke the penalty into the Italian 22.

PENALTY! Scotland 0-3 ITALY (Tommaso Allan penalty, 8 minutes)

12:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Indeed he does. From just right of centre inside the Scotland 22, Allan puts Italy ahead.

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