Ford double gives Townsend winning start


Gregor Townsend's tenure as Scotland coach got off to a winning start in Singapore as they cruised past Italy 34-13 on Saturday.

Tries from Ali Price, Damien Hoyland and Tim Visser plus a double from Ross Ford gave Scotland a comfortable victory in sweltering heat, extending their winning run over Italy to five matches.

Scotland's performance throughout the friendly international will have pleased Townsend as he looks to build on Vern Cotter's work that saw three wins during the 2017 Six Nations.

Both sides face Australia and Fiji in the remaining matches of their international tours, Scotland first up against the Wallabies in seven days' time.

A tight opening half hour saw little between the sides on the scoreboard, but Scotland dominated possession and posed much more of an attacking threat.

After Finn Russell and Tommaso Allan had exchanged penalties, Scotland finally pulled away with three minutes of the half remaining.

Price produced a superb pick-up before selling a dummy to go over in the corner, before Visser added some extra gloss with a simple touch down having collected Russell's perfectly-weighted kick.

A rolling maul early in the second half saw Scotland surge towards the Italian line, Ford well placed in the pack to finish things off.

And the hooker was involved again six minutes later as a flowing Scotland move resulted in an intricate behind-body pass from Russell, Ford dancing through a few tackles to score.

Michele Campagnaro gave Italy - who saw Dean Budd and Braam Steyn sin binned in the second period - something to cheer with a great break, the centre profiting from Maxime Mbanda's offload to score.

Scotland added their fifth try late on as Hoyland snuck in the corner, but Italy had the final say as Angelo Esposito caught a looped Carlo Canna pass to narrow their losing margin to 21 points on the hooter.