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Six Nations: Bold and beautiful

SCOTLAND's win over Italy – a result that will do our confidence a huge amount of good – was a demonstration of the value of having the courage to take the right sort of risks – as opposed to the wrong kind we have been guilty of taking in the past.

I thought we would win yesterday, but not by anything like a 34-10 margin.

In some ways it was a strange game. Looking at it from an Italian perspective, while they would obviously have been disappointed with the scoreline there was not a lot wrong with the way they played.

They created a lot of space, but at crucial times made errors they did not make against France last week and Scotland took their chances. They did not create too many opportunities but they made the most of the ones they had.

The moment that perhaps summed up the whole game came when Italy looked set to score a try under the posts and Stuart Hogg went for the interception.

It was a gamble. The game was still on at that stage and Italy would have scored under the posts if Luciano Orquera had got the pass right. Hoggy is young, though – he has that youthful exuberance – so he just went for it and has the pace to go the length of the pitch.

I cannot really think of a chance that we made a mess of and Matt Scott's try was particularly pleasing because it will give the back line a big boost and encourage them to take a few more chances.

Matt is a clever player at either 10 or 12 who understands the game really well and getting that try will do his confidence a lot of good. He should have had a second, but it was disallowed because he gambled a bit too soon and got in front of Sean Maitland.

Two tries would have been a rich reward for the way Matt played and Maitland did well both times because he ran a great line to set up the one that counted. He's a really dangerous runner and Matt took a chance and was rewarded with a straight run in.

If you get that right it is very difficult to defend and it is great when you have guys you know can do that sort of damage, such as Tim Visser and Maitland, who is good on his feet but also with his hands with that ability to get them free.

It is perhaps a measure of how good Scotland's defence were collectively this week that Hoggy, whose last-ditch defence at Twickenham was outstanding, did not have too much one-on-one stuff to do this time and when he did he avoided tackling altogether by making an interception and going the length of the pitch. He has really put his name in the hat for the Lions tour.

In terms of attitude Scotland defended really well and Rob Harley did exactly what he was there to do on his first start. When it came to that final place in the back row I was not sure which way to go ahead of the match.

Dave Denton is more creative – he carries the ball better – and Kelly Brown led the way with the turnovers last week so it was a case of which of Denton and Harley would be best to create the balance.

As it turned out, Harley was a total pest at the breakdown. It was maybe illegal a lot of the time but he was getting away with it which is the hallmark of a good flanker so I would pick him out in particular for praise and Greig Laidlaw was good as well, controlling the game well and keeping Italy playing from deep.

There is no dampener to be put on a scoreline like yesterday's. We have played all the rugby in previous games and have not been able to make the final passes. There was perhaps an element of that for Italy yesterday, but that was because of the pressure we put on them defensively. So now it is a matter of having to wait two weeks until Ireland come to Murrayfield. Their game today is a big one for us as well as them. If England beat them it will be good for us, but if they win, which I think they will, it will be a huge challenge.

Either way, it is good to see Scotland not only win but get the kind of win they did. It has been a tough time for Scottish rugby so when things go well we have to make the most of it.

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