Six Nations: Italy 20 Scotland 36 '“ Confidence high in Scotland camp after ending long losing streak

Jason O'Halloran hopes Scotland can shake off their mental shackles after finally halting their long RBS 6 Nations losing streak.

VERN COTTER: Saw Scotland end nine-match losing streak in the Six Nations with a win in Rome.

The Dark Blues backs coach watched his side stun Italy with two early tries before Tommy Seymour’s late score put the seal on a 36-20 victory in Rome.

It was the Scots’ first win in the competition for two years and killed off fears of a dreaded 10th straight loss.

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Scotland had high hopes entering the Championship following their encouraging display at last year’s World Cup, but O’Halloran admitted he was worried the team’s self-belief had plummeted after losing their opening two games to England and Wales.

But with that run of misery now behind Vern Cotter’s team, O’Halloran wants to see Scotland march into their next clash with France at Murrayfield in two weeks’ time with a swagger.

The Kiwi said: “Hopefully a win will liberate us a bit. We can get rid of a few of those mental demons we’ve been carrying around with us.

“We now have some positive mental images to draw from after Saturday’s win. We were under the pump at times but came through with a decent margin of victory in Rome.

“We will be able to use that experience going forward.”

Flankers John Barclay and John Hardie both dived over for Scotland inside the opening 17 minutes and captain Greig Laidlaw’s near-flawless kicking display with 21 points from a possible 24 ensured the Azzurri were largely held at bay.

There were concerns when Leonardo Ghiraldini and Marco Fuser crossed for the hosts either side of the interval, with the second coming after fly-half Finn Russell had been sent to the bin.

But Seymour’s late score – at a time when Scotland were again a man light after prop WP Nel’s yellow card – put the result beyond doubt, allowing Cotter’s group to breath a huge sigh of relief as a repeat of last year’s whitewash was thankfully avoided.