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Wales

FULL-TIME
38     14

Italy

Six Nations | Cardiff
15:00 (GMT) | 11-03-2018
Mc wales ed
Wales
Mc italy ed
Italy
START LINE UP
  • 15 Leigh Halfpenny
  • 14 George North
  • 13 Scott Williams
  • 12 Hadleigh Parkes
  • 11 Liam Williams
  • 10 Dan Biggar
  • 9 Gareth Davies
  • 8 Taulupe Faletau
  • 7 Josh Navidi
  • 6 Justin Tipuric
  • 5 Alun Wyn Jones
  • 4 Cory Hill
  • 3 Tomas Francis
  • 2 Ken Owens
  • 1 Rob Evans
RESERVES
  • 23 Steffan Evans
  • 22 Gareth Anscombe
  • 21 Aled Davies
  • 20 Aaron Shingler
  • 19 Bradley Davies
  • 18 Samson Lee
  • 17 Nicky Smith
  • 16 Elliot Dee
START LINE UP
  • 15 Matteo Minozzi
  • 14 Tommaso Benvenuti
  • 13 Tommaso Boni
  • 12 Tommaso Castello
  • 11 Mattia Bellini
  • 10 Tommaso Allan
  • 9 Marcello Violi
  • 8 Sergio Parisse
  • 7 Abraham Steyn
  • 6 Sebastian Negri Da Oleggio
  • 5 Dean Budd
  • 4 Alessandro Zanni
  • 3 Simone Ferrari
  • 2 Lucas Bigi
  • 1 Nicola Quaglio
RESERVES
  • 23 Jayden Hayward
  • 22 Carlo Canna
  • 21 Edoardo Gori
  • 20 Maxime Mbanda
  • 19 Federico Ruzza
  • 18 Tiziano Pasquali
  • 17 Andrea Lovotti
  • 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini
Mc article italy preview

PREVIEW: Wales v Italy

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 14:34

SIX NATIONS, ROUND FOUR: Wales will be seeking their 12th consecutive win over Italy when the two sides meet on Sunday during the penultimate Six Nations weekend at the Principality Stadium.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made 10 changes to last weekend's side who suffered a defeat to Ireland.

With Wales being out of the running to claim the Six Nations title, the encounter serves as an ideal opportunity to look towards building depth for the 2019 World Rugby.   

One who player, who would really want to produce a stellar performance in the 21-year-old Owen Watkin.

The centre is dreaming of a World Cup spot as he prepares to make his first Six Nations start for Wales against Italy.

Watkin - one of the 10 changes - will partner Hadleigh Parkes in midfield on Sunday and is hoping to put down a marker ahead of next year's tournament in Japan.

"I'd love to play in a World Cup and if I perform, fingers crossed I will get that opportunity," said Watkin.

"This is my opportunity to try and show what I can do. They've said that the summer tour will be used to prepare us for the World Cup.

"They are going to develop players and get us youngsters ready for that stage because some of the older heads might not be about to step up then. When I came into the squad in the autumn I was quite young and inexperienced. It's helped with my development and my confidence.

"I think it has benefited me massively learning from people like Scott Williams and Hadleigh who are great players. It has developed me a lot."

Despite coming up against an Italian side who last won a Six Nations fixture in 2015, Watkin is wary of the threat they'll pose at Principality Stadium.

"I think you can get in the habit of trying to score from your own 22 in the first few minutes," he said.

"That might not happen so we've got to try and break them down and prepare for this game as if we were playing England or Ireland. Their 12 and 13 are good players while their 15 is very elusive.

"We've got to be aware of what they can do as well as concentrating on ourselves. I'm just pleased to get an opportunity to play because I haven't had any game time during the campaign.

"I'm looking forward to getting out there and having a run about."

Players to watch:

For Wales: Leading the team for the first time, No.8 Tualupe Faletau is one to keep a close eye on. In the backline, George North can cause plenty of headaches if he manages to play the full 80 minutes without any injuries. While combinations of Owen Watkin and Hadleigh Parke is also a factor that has the potential to be trouble for an opposition.

For Italy: The reliable captain Sergio Parisse is always the one to look out for. While pivot Tommaso Allan has the opportunity to prove he can guide the Italian's attack and keep the scoreboard ticking, especially with Carlo Canna on the bench.

Head to head: Both Italy and Wales have new midfield partnership and will be interesting to see how debutant Owen Watkin and Hadleigh Parkes take on the likes of Giulio Bisegni and Tommaso Castello. The battle in the loose forwards will also be vital especially when you look at the two captain - Sergio Parisse and Tualupe Faletau.  

Recent results:

2017: Wales won 33-7, Rome
2016: Wales won 67-14, Cardiff
2015: Wales won 23-19, Cardiff
2015: Wales won 61-20, Rome
2014: Wales won 23-15, Cardiff
2013: Wales won 26-9, Rome
2012: Wales won 24-3, Cardiff
2011: Wales won 24-16, Rome
2010: Wales won 33-10, Cardiff
2009: Wales won 20-15, Rome
2008: Wales won 47-8, Cardiff

Prediction: The Italians could pull off a major upset if they manage to find their rhythm, however even with 10 modifications in the Welsh set-up the chances are very slim. Wales are just too settled and should claim the victory by 15 points.

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau (captain), 7 James Davies, 6 Justin Tipuric, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Cory Hill, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Seb Davies, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Leigh Halfpenny

Italy: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Maxime Mbanda, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lovotti.    
Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Nicola Quaglio, 18 Tiziani Pasquali, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Giovanni Licata, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Jayden Hayward.

Date: Sunday, March 11
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 15.00 (15.00 GMT, 16.00 Italy time)
Expected weather conditions: Rain is expected, with  a high of 12°C and a low of 5°C.
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Mc article wales v italy 2018 800

Wales rise above England in Six Nations

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 14:41

SIX NATIONS REPORT: George North marked his first start of this season's Six Nations by scoring two tries as Wales beat Italy 38-14 at Cardiff's Principality Stadium on Sunday.

The five-try, bonus-point victory at Cardiff's Principality Stadium saw a much-changed Wales go second in the table behind already crowned champions Ireland and another bonus-point success in next week's tournament finale at home to France would assure the Welsh of the runners-up spot. 

A blistering opening that saw three tries scored in the opening 10 minutes left Italy well in the game at just 14-7 behind but from then on it was an all too familiar story as the Azzurri suffered their 16th successive defeat in the Six Nations and 12th in a row in all competitions by Wales.

This was despite Wales being reduced to 13 men at one stage after fullback Liam Williams and scrumhalf Gareth Davies both received yellow cards either side of half-time. 

Wales coach Warren Gatland responded to a loss to Ireland last time out by making 10 changes.

Taulupe Faletau captained Wales for the first time, with Gatland giving a Test debut to highly-rated Scarlets flank James Davies as he looked to build squad depth ahead of next year's World Cup in Japan.

Spectators in a crowd of over 65 000 beneath the closed retractable roof barely had time to draw breath at the start of the game.

After James Davies forced a ruck penalty, Wales kicked to touch for an attacking line-out.

The ball was worked left to Hadleigh Parkes who forced his way between opposing inside centre Tommaso Castello - who appeared to knock himself out in the act of trying to make a tackle - and Italy captain Sergio Parisse for a fourth-minute try under the posts that flyhalf Gareth Anscombe duly converted.

Wales's second try came just two minutes after their first.

As Italy made a foray forward into Welsh territory, Azzurri flank Maxime Mbanda's pass was intercepted by Owen Watkin, who surged and swerved 60 metres before sending in North.

The flyer had angered club side Northampton by not turning up for an English Premiership match last weekend, with Wales citing a hip injury as the reason for his absence, but he was back among a joyful faithful on Sunday.  

Italy, to their credit, hit back in the 10th minute.

Lock Dean Budd won a line-out and the ball was worked across field. Matteo Minozzi, with precious little room to work with, evaded opposing fullback Williams and home scrumhalf Gareth Davies for a try in the corner.

It was Minozzi's third try in seven Tests and, with flyhalf Tommaso Allan converting, Wales's lead head been cut to seven points.

Wales thought they had another try when a fortunate bounce saw Davies collect Steff Evans's chip ahead but the score was correctly ruled out by the television match official as he had been in front of the kicker.

An intriguing half ended with Williams sent to the sin-bin in stoppage time for a dangerous tackle on Minozzi. 

But three minutes into the second half there were cheers as Wales lock Cory Hill scored his first Test try.

Davies's charge down of Minozzi's kick gave Wales a five-metre scrum and this avoidable Azzurri error was further punished when, from an ensuing quick ruck, Hill dived over.

Wales were down to 13 men when Davies was binned for a deliberate knock-on but it made little difference, with North and replacement Justin Tipuric going over for two more tries.

French referee Jerome Garces's whistle denied North a hat-trick before Mattia Bellini managed a late consolation try for Italy.

The scorers:

For Wales:
Tries: Parkes, North 2, Hill, Tipuric
Cons: Anscombe 3, Halfpenny 2
Pen: Anscombe

For Italy:
Tries: Minozzi, Bellini
Cons: Allan, Canna

Yellow cards: Liam Williams (Wales, 40 - foul play); Gareth Davies (Wales, 48 - cynical play, deliberate knock-on); Tommaso Benvenuti (Italy, 78 - cynical play, deliberate knock-on)

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau (captain), 7 James Davies, 6 Justin Tipuric, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Cory Hill, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Seb Davies, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Leigh Halfpenny

Italy: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Maxime Mbanda, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lovotti.    
Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Nicola Quaglio, 18 Tiziani Pasquali, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Giovanni Licata, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Jayden Hayward.

Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Agence France-Presse