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Wales worried about Dan Biggar and George North following victory in Rome

Wales will hope that fly-half Dan Biggar and wing George North can shrug off knocks heading into next Saturday's Cardiff showdown against England.

Biggar went off at half-time of Wales' RBS 6 Nations opener against Italy in Rome, while try-scorer North took an early blow to his thigh but stayed on and finished the game by claiming a long-range solo touchdown.

The Wales squad flew home by charter flight from Rome on Sunday night, with thoughts quickly turning to England after a 33-7 Stadio Olimpico success.

"Dan has taken a bump to his ribs, but we will wait for more medical information on that," Wales interim head coach Rob Howley said.

"George took an early bump - he has a haematoma on his thigh. I am delighted he stayed on. I thought he showed some mental toughness, which is important in games when you come away from home."

Number eight Taulupe Faletau (knee) and lock Luke Charteris (hand) both missed the Italy trip, and a clearer picture on the fitness situation should begin to emerge once Wales have met up again on Tuesday evening.

Second-half tries by North, his fellow wing Liam Williams and centre Jonathan Davies - plus 18 points from full-back Leigh Halfpenny - saw Wales home to a fourth successive win under Howley.

"It is important we start competitions well," Howley added. "We haven't done so since four years ago, really. We can go into the next game with a bit more self-belief and confidence.

"We want to improve in all areas. We will have to put England under more pressure than we did against Italy, so that is going to be the challenge."

Howley's opposite number Conor O'Shea, meanwhile, says he wants to see Italy "refereed on a level playing field" after their defeat.

The former Harlequins boss, now Italy's coaching director, struggled to mask his frustration after Wales cut loose in the second half to score 30 unanswered points.

Of as much concern to the Irishman was a 16-5 penalty count against his team, and he feels the Azzurri need to change what he believes is a perception about them.

"Rugby is a rollercoaster," he said. "Energy comes in different ways in games, and we've a big challenge to change a lot of our mentality and to understand that things do go against you. We lost our discipline in the second half.

"The energy being given the whole time to Wales meant it was very difficult for our team to stay on task as they did in the first half, when they were magnificent at times.

"We have to make sure we change the perception of people who look at us, so we are refereed on a level playing field. The energy that is driven away and towards an opposition is huge when it is 16-5 (penalty count).

"We have a huge, huge challenge. I want to make sure we are looked on the same as others, and then we will be fine.

"We will look at ourselves first. It's our fault. We will look at what we control not anyone else, but human nature is human nature, and we have to change a perception that people have, not today, but all the time."

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