Planet Rugby

Italian job done for Wales

10th March 2012 13:57

Share:

wales v italy

Made to work: Wales see off Italy

Wales kept their Grand Slam mission on course after seeing off a determined Italy outfit 24-3 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

Now only France stand in the way of the Welsh, who are only 80 minutes away from securing the 2012 Six Nations title.

However, it wasn't always one-way traffic for the hosts. Wales have averaged almost 40 points a time over their previous Six Nations meetings with the Azzurri in Cardiff and a repeat performance was expected by many this weekend.

But the Italians weren't prepared to roll over so easily and put in a feisty performance in defence that kept their hosts tryless for 50 minutes, until centre Jamie Roberts finally found a chink in the visitors' armour.

Until then, the favourites had to settle for three penalties to one with full-back Leigh Halfpenny and wing Mirco Bergamasco providing all the points in the first half for their respective teams that saw Wales head into the half-time sheds 9-3 on top.

Italy enjoyed some lengthy spells of possession after the break, but they were then hit with a sucker punch as Wales grabbed the opening try.

The visitors had made seven times more tackles than the men in red, but had no answer for a Welsh counter-attack inside their own 22. With Italy's defence stretched, the ball was spun wide to Roberts who stepped inside Bergamasco for a clear run-in to the line.

Halfpenny added the extras but 10 minutes later found himself in the sin-bin after taking Italy skipper Sergio Parisse out in the air whilst following up his Garryowen.

However, the Azzurri failed to take advantage of playing against 14 Welshmen and failed to add any points in Halfpenny's absence. Instead, Wales managed to extend their lead through a Rhys Priestland penalty.

With three minutes left on the clock, the hosts sealed the deal with their second try of the match thanks to some brilliant finishing from wing Alex Cuthbert.

Priestland's conversion attempt was wide, but it didn't matter as Wales sent Italy home - still without a win in the competition. The Azzurri face Scotland next in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

Man of the match: Scrum-half Mike Phillips and centre Jonathan Davies were Wales' stand-out performers, but we'll go for flanker Dan Lydiate who put in his usual strong display.

Moment of the match: There weren't many! But Jamie Roberts' try proved to be the breakthrough Wales were looking for.

Villain of the match: We have a feeling referee George Clancy is going to cop a lot of flak following his performance in the middle...

The scorers:

For Wales:
Tries: Roberts, Cuthbert
Cons: Halfpenny
Pens: Halfpenny 3, Priestland

For Italy:
Pens: Bergamasco

Yellow card: Halfpenny, 61 mins (Wales, taking player out in the air)

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun-Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c).
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Luke Charteris, 19 Ryan Jones, 20 Rhys Webb, 21 James Hook, 22 Scott Williams.

Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Luke McLean, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Cornelius Van Zyl, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Fabio Staibano, 18 Marco Bortolami, 19 Robert Barbieri, 20 Tobias Botes, 21 Tommaso Benvenuti, 22 Giulio Toniolatti.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath vs WorcesterBath vs Worcester Preview
Wasps vs GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Preview
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Connacht vs MunsterConnacht vs Munster Preview
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Stormers vs LionsStormers vs Lions Preview
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers2064
4Bath1959
5Harlequins2058