Italy 16-12 Scotland, Six Nations, February 27
Bortolami joy at 'massive win'
February 27, 2010
Italy centre Gonzalo Garcia hands off Scotland flanker John Barclay during the game in Rome © Getty Images
Marco Bortolami was understandably ecstatic after Italy picked up their first Six Nations win in two years, the Azzurri claiming a hard-fought 16-12 win over Scotland in Rome on Saturday.
The Italians were 12-9 down after just over an hour of play at the Stadio Flaminio but Pablo Canavosio's terrific try turned the game decisively in their favour, much to Bortolami's delight.
"It's a massive win for us, the team deserved to win," the Gloucester lock said. "We fight hard every week against better teams. We didn't make any mistakes, we showed we can beat anyone, our defence was so good today. It's a major win for Italy.
"Against a team who move the ball like Scotland your defence is so important; every player gave 100% for 80 minutes, that's why it's a great win."
Italy boss Nick Mallett was also overjoyed after watching his side taste victory in the Championship for the first time since their triumph over the same opponents at the same venue in 2008.
"I am extremely proud and satisfied," the South African said. "We have done a great job today. I am proud of all my players, not just the ones that started. Everyone gave their contribution.
"Italy has won seven games in the Six Nations. Every single win we have is fantastic. We've come quite close many times but this is a completely different feeling because this time we managed to hold on for a win. This is great for the players and great for the squad.
"To have not conceded a try against Scotland is a great achievement. We are very happy that we managed to hold them. They twice came close but my team showed great character."
For match-winner Canavosio, who was not long off the replacements' bench when he latched on to Gonzalo Canale's fantastic off-load to score the game's only try, the victory felt long overdue.
"This is my first victory in the Six Nations," he said. "It is a great feeling. Finally, we have ended our drought in the tournament and it's all down to the hard work of the team. We have played well in the past but we didn't always get what we deserved. Today we were finally rewarded."
It was another bittersweet day for Scotland fly-half Dan Parks, though. The Glasgow playmaker walked away with the Man of the Match award for the second successive game, following on from his fantastic display against Wales a fortnight ago, but he was again left bitterly frustrated at the full-time whistle.
"We had our chances today and didn't take them, they had one and took it. It's really disappointing," Parks told BBC 1. "We came here expecting to do well. There were some good parts but overall it's very disappointing.
"We had a few scrums and a lineout on the line and teams are scoring at these opportunities and we are not. At this level we need to take our chances and they came away with the win. Full credit to Italy."
Meanwhile, Scotland boss Andy Robinson was infuriated by his side's ability to make the most of the opportunities which came their way.
"There was a number of opportunities that we created and our accuracy was good at times but not in terms of finding the final pass," he said. "We've had the ball 22 times inside their 22. But credit to the Italian defence, and credit to the way that they scrambled, and also the way they slowed our ball down."
Robinson, though, admitted that he had been left baffled by referee Dave Pearson's failure to yellow card Josh Sole for deliberately killing the ball in the final seconds of the first half, at a time when Scotland, with quick ball, would almost certainly have scored a try.
"I'm sure that another referee would have given that as a sinbin," he said. "You're not sure what you're going to get in those situations and that's one of the big issues that I have about the game. He has a reason why he didn't give it. You'd need to speak to him. But I thought it was clear cut."