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Wales v Italy

Head coach Warren Gatland made four changes from the team beaten by England last weekend as Wales targeted a 10th successive victory over Italy that would secure second place in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Gatland called up wing Hallam Amos, scrum-half Rhys Webb, who suffered a World Cup-ending foot injury against Italy in Cardiff six months ago, lock Luke Charteris and flanker Justin Tipuric.

Prop Samson Lee also started after a week dominated by fall-out from England forward Joe Marler's "gypsy boy" comment aimed at him during a 25-21 Twickenham defeat.

Dan Lydiate, who missed training on Friday due to an ankle irritation, captained Wales for the first time in a Test match with Sam Warburton sidelined because of concussion, and Six Nations strugglers Italy showed five changes from a 58-15 drubbing by Ireland for coach Jacques Brunel's last game in charge.

Wales predictably made the early running against opponents already consigned to this season's wooden spoon, and they went ahead after five minutes following a trademark midfield charge from centre Jamie Roberts.

Italy could not cope with Wales' quick and physical approach, and Webb darted in from close range for a sixth try in his last 12 Wales appearances, with Dan Biggar's conversion opening up a 7-0 lead.

Wales continued to show plenty of attacking intent, although wing George North and full-back Liam Williams both required treatment after being on the receiving end of heavy collisions, before Biggar kicked a penalty to put the home side 10 points clear.

Wales then lost an injured Tipuric after 16 minutes, with Gloucester back-row forward Ross Moriarty replacing him for his Six Nations debut, and Italy were immediately reduced to 14 men when scrum-half Guglielmo Palazzani was sin-binned for illegally halting a quick Webb penalty.

HT Wales 27 Italy 0

Wales added a second try 11 minutes before half-time, and it was all too easy as Biggar sliced through Italy's defence, found Roberts in support, and the centre's return pass sent Biggar over for a score that he also converted.

Wales had the bit between their teeth, and they delivered a brilliantly-executed try four minutes later after Biggar ran from inside his own 22, with Roberts, North and Williams all handling before centre Jonathan Davies finished off with a 40-metre run to the line.

Biggar's conversion made it 27-0, leaving Italy in major damage-limitation mode as another landslide Six Nations defeat beckoned, with their cause not helped by wing Mattia Bellini and centre Andrea Pratichetti both limping off injured in quick succession.


Wales scored three converted first-half tries as they took charge against Principality Stadium visitors Italy to close in on a runners-up finish in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Scrum-half Rhys Webb, fly-half Dan Biggar and centre Jonathan Davies all touched down during a horribly one-sided first period, while Biggar added three conversions and two penalties.

Italy, already consigned to finishing bottom of the Six Nations table this term following four successive defeats, were not at the races as Wales monopolised possession and territory.

Wales required just five minutes of the second half to pile further misery on Italy, and this time it was Roberts who benefited from excellent approach play that went through numerous phases before North produced a superb assist with a one-handed offload.

North then took centre-stage when he left Italian defenders trailing in his take on a 50-metre run that ended with him touching down behind the posts and becoming only the second Wales player after Shane Williams eight years ago to score tries in four successive Six Nations games.

Biggar's conversion took Wales 39 points clear, although Italy rallied to exert some pressure and gain a consolation try when Palazzani went over from close range and replacement Kelly Haimona added the conversion.

But Wales immediately resumed normal service when Williams finished well for his team's sixth try that made it 46-7 entering the final quarter.

FT: Wales 67 Italy 14

Centre Gonzalo Garcia added a second try for Italy that Haimona converted, but Wales looked like scoring every time they entered the Azzurri's half, and Moriarty posted their seventh touchdown with 15 minutes left.

Rhys Priestland, on for Biggar, kicked the conversion, and Wales finished with further touchdowns from Moriarty and Gareth Davies, with Priestland adding both conversions.


Wales secured a runners-up finish behind England in this season's RBS 6 Nations by crushing Italy in Cardiff.

Warren Gatland's team ran in nine tries - Ross Moriarty (2), Rhys Webb, Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar touched down - while Biggar added 16 points from the boot and Rhys Priestland kicked three conversions.

Italy, who prop up the championship table following five successive defeats, claimed second-half consolation tries from scrum-half Guglielmo Palazzani and centre Gonzalo Garcia, with Kelly Haimona converting both scores, but the Azzurri were horribly outclassed.


From Belfast Telegraph