Wales dispatch Italy
MATCH REPORT: Wales took on a spirited Italian side in their final match of the Autumn Nations Cup in Llanelli eventually walking out deserved winners 38-18.
Wales stormed into the lead with converted tries from Kieran Hardy and Sam Parry but Paolo Garbisi’s boot and a try by Monty Ioane saw Italy just one point adrift at 14-13 come half time.
Nine minutes after the break a Johan Mayer try out wide gave Italy the lead but this was short lived as tries from Gareth Davies and George North turned the tide and a further try from Justin Tipuric sealed the deal for Wales.
Just prior to kick-off Wales were dealt a sickening blow with Johnny Williams having to cry off with a calf injury and was replaced by his Scarlets club-mate Jonathan Davies in a team that was already sporting nine changes from the one that lost to England.
However the hosts survived the early start by Italy and took the lead when Toby Faletau who was back to his abrasive best set up Tipuric to streak away and then release Hardy for his first ever try in a Welsh jersey.
Ten minutes later it was the turn of hooker Parry who burrowed over the line from close range with Callum Sheedy adding the extras for both tries to put his side fourteen points up.
Garbisi slotted a penalty and then a wicked grubber from Carlo Canna saw Ioane collect and score which was to become a converted try.
With deficit down to one point a break from Carmarthen-born Stephen Varney saw Josh Adams being sin binned for ten minutes and Garbisi made no mistake with the kick.
Sheedy proceeded to put the home team further ahead with a penalty in the second half but the match was turned on it’s head in the 49th minute when the Azzuri exploited Wales one man deficit and set up flank Meyer to power over in the corner.
However, Falatau at his block busting best breached the Italian defence yet again to release scrum half Davies who sprinted clear from forty meters out to dot down for a converted try.
With just twelve minutes to go Waled forced a turnover and set up an attack that saw replacement Jonah Holes get to within touching distance of the tryline before George North used his considerable bulk to force his way over and score a try which was converted by Sheedy.
The final act saw Welsh flyhalf Sheedy feed a storming Faletau who in turn put fellow back rower Tipuric over for Wales final try and give them a well deserved win by a margin of twenty points
Tries: Hardy, Parry, Davies, North, Tipuric
Cons: Sheedy 5
Yellow card: Adams
Try: Xanon, Mayer
Pens: Garbisi 2
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Josh Adams, 13 George North, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Louis Rees-Zammit, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Kieran Hardy, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James Botham, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Jonah Holmes.
Italy: 15 Jacopo Trulla; 14 Luca Sperandio, 13 Marco Zanon, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Montanna Ioane; 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney; 8 Braam Steyn, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbanda, 5 Niccolò Cannone, 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 3 Giosue Zilocchi, 2 Luca Bigi (captain), 1 Danilo Fischetti
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Simone Ferrari, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Cristian Stoian, 20 Michele Lamaro, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Federico Mori
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Luke Pierce, Alex Ruiz
TMO: Pascal Gauzere