The difference this time was that Kinghorn scored two of his tries here from stand-off and then his final one from full-back. Four years ago, they came from the wing. Kinghorn is nothing but versatile. Handed a start in this match at 10 due to Finn Russell’s injury, the 26-year-old did throw in a couple of stray passes. But what he did do was show his athleticism. What a monster he is, crashing through Italian tackles for his first two tries and then sprinting the length of the pitch to keep pace with Duhan van der Merwe to make his a treble.
Much has been written about Kinghorn. Stand-off, winger or full-back? Some feel he suffers from being a jack-of-all-trades, the perfect man to have on the bench. He gives you options. This was his first start of the campaign and he did his chances of a regular berth no harm at all.
“You want to be starting and have the opportunity,” said Kinghorn. “I have confidence in myself and the team have confidence in me so I felt really good going out there. Having an early kick-off in the sunshine just makes you feel a bit better and play a bit better. I just wanted to play my game and in parts I was able to do that.”
Kinghorn was asked what his best position is. “Just wherever in the starting team is really good,” he smiled. “Ten or 15 is probably my preference but I’m just happy to be in the starting team. I don’t listen to any of that stuff [the debate about his best position]. I’m confident in my own ability wherever I get picked. I know I can go out there and play my best and hopefully add to the team which I think I’ve done in this Six Nations.”
Kinghorn was not sure whether he’d get the match ball for his try-scoring feats – “I got it last time but I’ll just take a beer” – and relived the final try, which has the stadium on its feet. “I just didn’t want to get caught,” Kinghorn laughed. “I could feel them breathing down my neck and I didn’t want to get caught. Duhan is so fast I knew he would get on the outside of the winger and then it was just a 2-on-1.”
Scotland now take a breather until the World Cup warm-up matches in the summer. Confidence is high in the camp, buoyed by an improvement in last year’s Six Nations performances. “I think the consistency of our performance has been better than other years, and if you’re not quite at the races against the number-one and number-two teams in the world it’s a touch competition to break into that top two,” added Kinghorn. “We certainly had our chances against Ireland and France but I think the consistency of our performance compared to other tournaments has been much better.”