HEAD coach Sean Lineen was left disappointed with his team's display after watching Scotland A lose 13-3 against Italy A in Biella.
From the opening minute, Italy A attacked with real gusto and moved the ball around at a frenetic pace which Scotland A struggled to handle. Level with one penalty apiece at half-time, Italy A scored the decisive try through centre Matteo Pratichetti on the hour mark with stand-off Luciano Orquera contributing the home team's other eight points.
Scotland A's only points arrived courtesy of a penalty from stand-off Ruaridh Jackson in the latter stages of the first half; a rare sojourn up the pitch for the visitors.
As a result, Lineen believes it was one of the most frustrating 80 minutes he has ever experienced in his coaching career.
He said: "As a coach that was probably the most disappointing game I've ever been involved in at any level. We clearly need more preparation time together – one session before the game isn't enough – because that was an unacceptable performance. Our set-piece disintegrated, we lost several line-outs and our scrum struggled, so there was no platform there at all. It was still 3-3 at half-time and we thought we were still in it. But we made too many poor decisions on the ball."
Orquera drilled a long range penalty through to stretch Italy A's lead to ten points and, underneath the Alps, Scotland A were left with a mountain to climb. But after conceding the try, Scotland A produced some of their best passages of play and threatened the home side with some positive attacking play. Nevertheless that period did not translate into points and replacement David Blair missed a penalty.
Dominant at the set-piece and always looking to probe Scotland A's defence with some testing kicks, Italy A were the more efficient team in the opening 20 minutes.
Straight after the half-time interval, Italy A's Orquera missed a penalty.
Jackson's penalty arrived when centre Alex Grove made an enterprising break on 37 minutes, but was tackled off the ball and the young Glasgow stand-off restored parity.
Overall it was a frustrating evening for Lineen's young side, the starting line-up had an average age of just 25, and some lessons were learned in northern Italy.
Scotland A: C Gregor (Glasgow Warriors); M Robertson (Edinburgh), A Grove (Worcester Warriors), J Houston (Edinburgh), S Webster (Edinburgh); R Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), G Laidlaw (captain, Edinburgh); J Welsh (Glasgow Warriors), A Kelly (Edinburgh), K Traynor (Edinburgh), R Gray (Glasgow Warriors), S MacLeod (Edinburgh), J Eddie (Glasgow Warriors), S Gray (Northampton Saints), R Vernon (Glasgow Warriors). Replacements: F Thomson (Glasgow Warriors), E Kalman (Glasgow Warriors), C Hamilton (Edinburgh), R Grant (Edinburgh), M McMillan (Glasgow Warriors), D Blair (Edinburgh), P Murchie (Glasgow Warriors). Substitutions: Grant for S Gray 51 minutes, Thomson for Kelly 51 minutes, Kalman for Welsh 59 minutes, Blair for Jackson 65 minutes, Hamilton for R Gray 68 minutes, McMillan for Laidlaw 74 minutes.