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Player Ratings: Wales

OPINION: It is the wooden spoon for Wales, and rightfully so after a match where a losing bonus point in a 21-24 loss to Italy flattered them.

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This was not like a usual Italy victory in the Six Nations though. This was not a smash-and-grab by the Italians, nor was it just a case of Wales playing poorly. It was just the better team winning on the day. Considerably better.

But Wales at the same time were their own worst enemy. They cannot be criticised for lacking variety though, as they continuously found new and inventive ways to kill any modicum of momentum they fought to build.

Josh Raisey rates the Welsh players:

15. Cameron Winnett – 6
Strong in the air in the backfield, save for a howler when colliding with Sam Costelow – a mistake Italy did not capitalise on. Had some nice touches with ball in hand, noticeably a delayed pass to put Rio Dyer away shortly after the break.

14. Josh Adams – 3
Penalised on a number of occasions, as the Welsh wings seemed very isolated at times. Was put in a devilish position to try and cover Lorenzo Pani after an Italian break, but even then his attempt was poor as the Italians scored their second try.

13. George North – 5
A depressing way to see George North’s career end, being carried off the field in pain, but played with a lot of passion and carried relentlessly into the Italian defence.

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12. Nick Tompkins – 4
In a team that are seemingly incapable of getting over the gainline, inside centre is not the position to play. Nick Tompkins was frequently tasked with crashing the ball up the middle from slow ball and as a result, errors did come. Crucially tripped over in Italy’s first try, and had the ball ripped from him in Wales’ best attacking position in the first half. Linked well with North on occasions, but was roped off shortly after the break.

11. Rio Dyer – 5
Like Josh Adams, Rio Dyer seldom got the ball in his hands in a position a wing would want, but did make the most of the chances he had. Was threatening down the left flank and would have thought he had an assist to go with his performance, but for Ross Vintcent’s heroic tackle on Tomos Williams.

10. Sam Costelow – 3
Could not outthink an Italian defence that had Wales’ number. That is not entirely a flyhalf’s fault, but he did not help himself either. Three missed penalty kicks to touch is criminal, particularly in a game where they found attacking platforms very hard to come by.

9. Tomos Williams – 5
Tried his best to unlock the Italian defence with nice chips from rucks on two occasions as Wales simply ran out of ideas against a blue wall that swarmed all over them.
The No.9 was somehow unable to score what looked to be a certain try in the second half, and was then turned over from the ensuing ruck. He was taken off immediately after, which would have been a galling moment to end your match on.

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1. Gareth Thomas – 3
Had a torrid time against Uini Atonio last week at scrum time and his experience against the Azzurri was not much better, being penalised multiple times. Managed to redeem himself in the second half, however.

2. Elliot Dee – 6
Scored the Wales try that gave them hope in the second 40, and showed his strength to get the ball down. Made an impact elsewhere on the field with some handy work at the breakdown. Faultless lineout display to add to a strong showing.

3. Dillon Lewis – 3
Came in to shore up a Welsh scrum that was savagely treated by France last week, but suffered a similar fate.

4. Dafydd Jenkins – 4
Was one of many Welsh ball carriers in the pack that must have felt like a feather in a hurricane, and his stats reflect that.

5. Adam Beard – 3
A neck roll killed Wales’ early momentum in the second half and it proved to be a costly penalty to give away when front-foot ball was a rarity for the men in red. Italy scored seconds later to compound the error and Warren Gatland had seen enough. A quiet game before that as the Welsh pack struggled physically against the visitors.

6. Alex Mann – 6
Finished his debut campaign with another promising performance in what was an untiring partnership with Tommy Reffell.

7. Tommy Reffell – 6
Death, taxes and Tommy Reffell putting in a fantastic display for Wales. No matter how poorly his team performs, the openside is always Mr Dependable. Had comfortably made the most breakdown steals in the Championship, and added to that total in Cardiff to go with a vast number of tackles.

8. Aaron Wainwright – 4
Tried his hardest to penetrate the blue wall, but finished with carrying stats that would make any No8 blush. Single-figure carrying metres is not what any Test No.8 wants to see, but credit must go to a dominant Italian defence.

Replacements:

16. Evan Lloyd – N/A
Unfair to judge a player on a short cameo late on.

17. Kemsley Mathias – N/A
Another player that was only called upon late in the match.

18. Harri O’Connor – N/A
A brief debut for Wales, but a debut nevertheless.

19. Will Rowlands – 6
A consolation try in a decent second-half cameo.

20. Mackenzie Martin – 4
Calamitous knock-on when Wales had a real purple patch in the final quarter, and gave Italy a foothold back into the game.

21. Kieran Hardy – 5
Was on the field for Wales’ best period of the game, albeit still not hugely impressive.

22. Ioan Lloyd – N/A
Came on with only seven minutes to play.

23. Mason Grady – 5
Early knock-on as soon as he joined the action, then followed it up with a high tackle. But was Wales’ most threatening ball carrier when on the field. A skilful little kick in the last play earnt him a try as well.

By Josh Raisey, @RugbyPass

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