|JACK DEMPSEY PLAYER OF THE MATCH FOR SCOTLAND IN SIX NATIONS VICTORY|
Jack Dempsey (OR20012) claimed Player of the Match as Scotland held out to defeat Italy 26-14 in Round 5 of the Guinness Six Nations last month. The hosts led 19-6 shortly after half-time but Italy fought back hard to trail only 19-14 in the final five minutes. Home nerves were settled when Blair Kinghorn sealed his hat-trick at the death as Scotland broke away to score a quality try from their own line. Dempsey was a huge presence for Scotland in both defence and attack, notching up 80 metres from 13 carries and making an astonishing 23 tackles, more than any other player on the pitch, missing none.
He said: “It was a bit scary towards the end there, credit to the front row for getting us out of trouble, it was knee shaking stuff. “Honestly, I was just waiting for the whistle to go, I am lucky that I was surrounded by a forward pack that works so hard and they bailed us out of trouble again, obviously Blair and Duhan (van der Merwe) shone at the end but that is credit to the tight five.
“I think that is the way the Italians like to play, having played them quite a lot since I came here at both club level and international level. “They are a grindy team, a niggly team and they like to stay in the game at the end and scrape one out and they nearly did there – so huge credit to them for the whole Championship.”
Scotland won their opening two matches for the first time since 1996 before coming out on the wrong side of results against France and Ireland to deny them a shot at the Championship on Super Saturday.
On a personal level, however, Dempsey has enjoyed a Guinness Six Nations he will never forget. “It is obviously disappointing overall, we wanted to attack this Championship, especially after the first two rounds with eyes on everything,” he said. “But France and Ireland were a bit too classy for us and we did not perform the way we would have liked to.
“But for me personally, my first time in a Championship like this, it is amazing to come to this hemisphere and see the quality of rugby in Europe."