Six shooter: Scotland's Chris Paterson converts one of his six penalties against Italy on Saturday

SAINT-ETIENNE, 29 September - Scotland clinched a quarter-final berth with an 18-16 victory against Italy in their final pool match at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Saturday.

The Scots had Chris Paterson's unerring boot to thank for their hard-fought victory.

The wing landed six penalties from six attempts to steer his side to a last-eight fixture against the winner of Pool D, with France, Argentina and Ireland all in the frame as potential opponents ahead of their final matches on Sunday.

Paterson booted four first-half penalties to give his team a 12-10 lead at the break, grabbing back the advantage for Scotland after a spirited Italy had opened a 10-6 lead despite being a man down.

Scotland started brightly, taking a 6-0 lead on five minutes after Paterson kicked a brace of penalties following Italy infringements in the ruck.

The Italians suffered a further setback minutes later when flanker Mauro Bergamasco received a yellow card for a tackling offence.

But the 14-man Azzurri hit back in style, snatching the lead from a converted Alessandro Troncon try after Scotland full back Rory Lamont spilled a big up-and-under close to his line.

David Bortolussi made it two from two on 18 minutes when he kicked a penalty to extend the Italians' lead after Scotland were called for coming in at the side of a ruck.

Paterson made it three from three on 32 minutes to narrow the margin to a solitary point after Italy conceded a penalty for a dangerous tackle, then added his fourth soon after.

Paterson picked up where he left off after the break, slotting another penalty on 47 minutes when Italy were punished for not staying on their feet in the ruck, and his sixth on 53.

As the rain came down, Italy pressed for a second try. Nathan Hines was sent to the sin bin on 55 minutes for a high tackle and Bortolussi landed the resulting penalty to reduce the margin to five points (18-13).

Bortolussi cut the gap to just three points with another penalty when Scotland conceded for collapsing a maul.

And the full back had the chance to put his side in sight of victory four minutes from time but he sliced his penalty attempt to the right of the upright.

RNS mr