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By Terry Daley
ROME, Feb 22 (Reuters) - A last-gasp drop goal from Duncan Weir helped Scotland to a dramatic 21-20 win over Italy in the Six Nations on Saturday and ended two weeks of soul-searching following their whitewash by England.
Centre Alex Dunbar scored two second-half tries for Scotland who fought back from 13-3 down at the interval to secure their first win of the tournament and relieve the pressure on under-fire coach Scott Johnson.
Italy's Tommaso Allan contributed 13 points in the first half at the Stadio Olimpico and Joshua Furno crossed for a try 10 minutes from time to put the Italians 20-18 ahead.
But the Scotland forwards set up a solid attacking position and with seconds remaining Weir slotted over a drop goal to send the thousands of Scottish fans in Rome wild.
The victory secured Scotland their first points of the campaign in a match billed as a potential wooden-spoon decider and was the perfect response to their meek 20-0 loss to England at Murrayfield last time out.
"It's all a big blur really," a delighted Weir told the BBC.
"I was given a lovely ball and the rest as they say is history. It's a great feeling and I am delighted for boys we have come away with the win.
"We can kick on from here now. Against Ireland we showed some good attacking play, but we let ourselves down. We are not going to mention the England game but we have come here, it's never an easy place to come, we have won and we can enjoy it."
Italy edged the scrappy first half on the back of their superior pack, and after bagging two penalties to give the hosts a 6-3 lead, flyhalf Allan struck with a well-worked try.
The 20-year-old, who represented Scotland at age-group level, was on hand to bundle the ball over the line when captain Sergio Parisse, making a record 104th Italy appearance, was brought down short after bursting with the ball from a ruck.
Scotland came out firing in the second half, with Greig Laidlaw cutting the deficit with a penalty six minutes after the break before Dunbar finished a slick passing move nine minutes later for his side's first try of the competition.
The visitors grabbed the lead with 13 minutes remaining when Dunbar capitalised on a break and outran the opposition.
Scotland's lead only lasted a matter of minutes however, as Parisse released lock Furno on the right wing to level the scores, before substitute Luciano Orquera made it 20-18 with a conversion from out wide.
Italy were unable to hold the advantage, however, as Scotland showed patience and discipline to work the ball into good field position, allowing Weir to nail the winning kick with 15 seconds left on the clock for their first win in Rome since 2006.
"It's a huge achievement for the boys," try-scorer Dunbar said.
"We have had a tough few weeks but it shows the attitude of the side to come here and win.
"We created a lot today and I was lucky enough to finish a couple of them off. There were a couple of mistakes on the far side, near the end, and we just needed to get the ball in the middle. Luckily we managed to do it and score the drop-goal."
Italy remained without a win from three matches.
(Editing by Josh Reich and Ed Osmond)