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Wales v Italy – story of the match

Wales move second in the NatWest 6 Nations with a comfortable win over Italy.

Wales moved second in the NatWest 6 Nations table behind champions Ireland after claiming an expected bonus-point victory over Italy.

It was not always plain-sailing for Wales before they made it 12 successive wins against the Azzurri, but their superior class and finishing ability ultimately told during a 38-14 triumph.

Winger George North – back in action following a recent difficult time at his club Northampton – set the tone with a try double, while centre Hadleigh Parkes, lock Cory Hill and flanker Justin Tipuric also crossed.

Tweet of the match

Star man – George North

George North runs in Wales’ second try during their NatWest 6 Nations victory against Italy (David Davies/PA)

Northampton interim boss Alan Gaffney created plenty of headlines when he suggested North did not want to play for the Saints against Sale in the Aviva Premiership last week. But there was no questioning North’s commitment to the Wales cause, the wing shrugging off what was said to be a hip injury with two tries that showed power and strength.

Yellow peril

Wales v Italy – NatWest 6 Nations – Principality Stadium

Liam Williams’ yellow card right at the end of the first half certainly divided opinion. Williams’ shoulder made contact with the jaw of Italy full-back Matteo Minozzi and was deemed dangerous by French referee Jerome Garces. By the letter of the law – above the neck – a yellow was the right decision, but it is possible the match citing commissioner could take the matter further.

Stat attack

North took his Six Nations Championship haul to 17 tries with a score in each half. He powered over in the sixth minute after Owen Watkin had intercepted Maxime Mbanda’s pass and ran 60 metres, before barrelling his way over the line from close range. North has eight tries against Italy in as many matches, ship, and is only behind Shane Williams and Gareth Thomas on Wales’ all-time list in the tournament.

Who’s up next?

Italy v Scotland, NatWest 6 Nations – March 17

Wales v France, NatWest 6 Nations – March 17

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