Cumnock centre Mark Bennett was the man of the hour after his hat-trick helped Scotland beat Italy 33-13 on day two of the Under 18 Five Nations Festival at Llandovery.
Italy’s defeat here follows losses at the hands of both Ireland and England in pre-tournament friendlies, and is hard to swallow as they started brightly.
Fly-half Andrea Menniti hit a 30 metre penalty but the lead was short lived when Bennett converted his own try.
The Italian pack more than held their own in tight and loose but Scotland looked the far more dangerous behind the scrum.
A brilliant run out of defence by wing Andrew Hall sent Bennett in for his second try and the Cumnock centre got his third immediately after by ghosting past a static defence.
With the conversion it was 19-3 before Menniti got a second penalty five minutes from half-time.
Industrious flanker Flanker Rory Sutherland got Scotland’s fourth try after the break, converted by
Bennett, but Italy hit back with a touchdown from replacement Carlo Canna, converted by Menniti.
A converted try from the talented Hogg pulled the Scots clear 33-13 but to Italy’s credit they continued to fight until the final whistle.
Stuart Hogg (Heriots); Jamie Urquhart ((Stirling), Michael Crawley (Stewarts Melville College), Mark Bennett (Cumnock RFC), Andrew Hall (Strathallan); Harry Leonard (Brighton College), Jamie Stevenson (Whitgift); Robin Hislop (Hawick Wanderers), George Turner (Stewarts Melville College), Gavin Robertson (Earlston High School / Melrose Wasps), Stuart Smith (North Berwick), Andrew Redmayne (Kilmarnock), Rory Sutherland (Hawick Wanderers), Lawrie Seydak (Edinburgh Academy), Ben Johnstone (Stewarts Melville College)
Replacements: Adam de St Croix for Johnstone 45 -58, Murray McConnell for Stevenson 50, J Bradford for Bennett 60, A McCall-Haden for Hall 65, Will Kay for Smith 67, Mitch Eadie for Seydak 67,Sam Knudson for Crawley 70
Tries :M Bennett (3), R Sutherland, S Hogg
Cons:M Bennett (4)
Alex Morsellino; Alessio Altieri, Giulio Bisegni, Timi Enodeh, Andrea Buondonno; Andrea Menniti, Guido Calabrese; Talal Rathore, Giovanni Scalvi, Antonio Brandolini, Matteo Ferro, Domenico Grassotti, Andrea De Marchi, Mirko Monfrino, Alfio Mammana
Replacements: Catrlo Canna for Morsellino 30,Giovanni Maistri for Rathore 40, Peter Pavanelio for Buondonno 40, Ruben Ricciou for Grassotti 45,Filippo Giuratti for Scalvi 50, Cesare Berton for Mammana 64
Pens:A Menniti (2)