Veni . . . vidi . . . vici . . . Venditti . . .
ANDY ROBINSON today began a period of introspection over his future as Scotland head coach as players clung to the few positives from a Six Nations campaign which ended with the wooden spoon.
Scotland suffered a Six Nations whitewash for the first time since 2004 as their winless sequence was extended to seven Tests – the worst run since 1998.
Robinson, who is under contract until the 2015 World Cup, insisted he would take time to reflect before determining his future after a review with Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson.
Scotland appeared close to producing a positive result in the losses to England, Wales and France, but the displays against Ireland and Italy were disappointing and Robinson was left with two wins from 15 Six Nations matches in charge.
Whether Robinson sees enough in the young players at his disposal – among them Richie Gray, Ross Rennie, David Denton, Greig Laidlaw, Stuart Hogg and Lee Jones – to encourage him to stay in his position remains to be seen.
Denton, the 22-year-old rampaging Edinburgh number eight, has impressed and hopes Robinson will remain in charge.
Denton said: “We all hope he’ll stay. I think we can build something special under him, with the group we’ve got. I think we can be a force to be reckoned with.”
Robinson has already begun a coaching overhaul and the Rome loss was the last match for Graham Steadman and Gregor Townsend, the defence and attack coach, respectively.
Scott Johnson is set to join as senior assistant coach and Matt Taylor as defence coach, appointments which suggest Robinson is committed to the cause despite the damning results.
Wing Giovanbattista Venditti scored the game’s only try when he burst through early in the second half after a dour opening 40 minutes in which each side exchanged a penalty.
Mirco Bergamasco kicked a penalty and Kristopher Burton added a conversion and a late drop goal for the hosts, while Greig Laidlaw kicked two penalties for a Scotland side who were once again undone by mistakes and ill-discipline, losing Nick De Luca and Jim Hamilton to the sin bin.
Frustrated referee Alain Rolland summed up the poor entertainment on display during a poor first half, telling both packs “they were spoiling it for everyone”. ITALY: Masi, Venditti, Benvenuti, Canale, Bergamasco, Burton, Gori, Lo Cicero, Ongaro, Castrogiovanni, Geldenhuys, Bortolami, Zanni, Barbieri, Parisse, Botes. Replacements: Cittadini for Lo Cicero (52 mins), Vosawai for Barbieri ( 56 mins), D’apice for Ongaro (59 mins), Botes for Gori (66 mins), Toniolatti for Canale ( 69 mins), Favaro for Botes (71 mins), Furno for Geldenhuys ( 75 mins). Sin Bin: Zanni (65). SCOTLAND: Hogg, Evans, De Luca, Morrison, Lamont, Laidlaw, Blair, Jacobsen, Ford, Cross, Gray, Hamilton, Barclay, Rennie, Denton. Replacements: Murray for Cross (52), Kellock for Gray (54), Jackson for Laidlaw, Vernon for Barclay (69). Subs not used: Lawson, Cusiter, Cuthbert. Sin bin: De Luca (38 mins), Hamilton (54 mins). Referee: A Rolland (Ireland)