Ali Price says patience was key to Scotland’s win over Italy

The big irony of introducing
video technology into a number of sports is that it has often led to the kind of controversies it was meant to get rid of.

Ali Price salutes the Scotland supporters in Rome after the 17-0 victory over hosts Italy. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA
Ali Price salutes the Scotland supporters in Rome after the 17-0 victory over hosts Italy. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA

That reveals the truth that sport is and will remain a subjective realm of opinion and interpretation.

There are some moments, however, that have about as many grey areas as perfect blue Roman sky.

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One of those was scrum-half Ali Price’s ‘try’ in the first half of Scotland’s 17-0 win over Italy. He got on the end of a combination between Hamish Watson and Sam Johnson but it was obvious to anyone with a fair enough viewpoint that the flanker’s slip inside to the onrushing centre was well forward.

“It would have been nice to get on the end of something on the inside, but as I jogged back, I said to Sam, ‘was that forward?’ and he was like, ‘yes it was.’ His pass to me was fine so I wasn’t that sure, but that was that.”

It was one of many blown opportunities on the day, in addition to an early Magnus Bradbury fumble a yard from the Italian line, a bad misjudged pass from a breaking
Adam Hastings, a more unfortunate knock-on over the line by a hard-tackled Jamie Ritchie and try hero Stuart Hogg’s failure to 
put Sean Maitland in at the corner.

“We ended up scoring a try on the back of patience which in international rugby you need to do,” said Price. “People
can get frustrated with the kicking that’s involved in these games, and where you play the game, but you have to build pressure on a team and get into the red zone.

“We knocked on or messed up three or four other opportunities to score and it’s a patience thing. The best teams in the world, when they get in the opposition 22, they come away with points.

“That [Harris] try [after multiple phases] was nice. We’ve worked on it so hard. The last two weeks we’ve coughed the ball up cheaply
in that area and you can question ‘what are these guys doing at training?’ But we practise it, we know what we need to improve, and it’s nice to get a try on the back of some of the stuff we’ve highlighted ourselves.

“Sometimes that’s what it takes. If you’re not scoring first or second phase, or off counter-attack like Hoggy’s try was, that’s what it takes to break down these teams, regardless of who you’re playing. So it was pleasing.” 
Price was full of praise for skipper Hogg, who capped his first win as national captain with that belter of an opening try.

“I had been rooming with Hoggy since we got here and that’s the kind of guy he is,” said the scrum-half of his former Glasgow team-mate.

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“Things haven’t quite gone right for him so far this tournament at certain times, but he’s got these world-class moments in him.

“He always goes on about not chasing highlights moments for yourself, that whole ‘contribute to the team’ thing. But that was a pretty good score.”

Price also backed his half-back partner Hastings to bounce back. The stand-off ended the game with a 
breakaway try but not much else on his highlights reel for the day.

“I thought again he did 
really well,” said Price. “There was a lot of pressure on him but so far he’s stood up to 
every challenge.

“It falls on both the half-backs, I think. In parts in the first half, we maybe got away from what we’ve done quite well, especially in the Ireland game, in terms of where we want to play the game. It was a pretty weird game in terms of how it flowed but Adam is doing a good job.

“His try shows you the kind of character he is. Off the tee he didn’t have his best day, and it would be easy for someone to go into their shell after that. But he kept plugging away and got his reward in the end.”