Player Ratings: Cardiff shocker
OPINION: Finishing a campaign with Italy at home is a strange one. A chance to develop depth, Wayne Pivac rolled in a handful of new selections, hoping to end the Six Nations on a high.
However, Italy put up a fight. Their kick-chase was miles ahead of last week, edging them into a 12-7 half-time lead. Wales made it hard work for the Italians, but a last-gasp Edoardo Padovani try gave Italy a well-deserved win.
Will Owen rates the Welsh players!
15. Johnny McNicholl – 5.5
McNicholl had a shaky start at fullback, hesitating on a couple of high balls. When Wales are attacking, however, McNicholl is a huge asset to their attack structure.
14. Louis Rees-Zammit – 4.5
After a shaky start to the campaign, the objective today was for “Rees Lightning” to enjoy himself. Arguably tried too hard, making good breaks but sometimes struggling to link up.
13. Owen Watkin – 6
Watkin allowed Wales to breathe early on by finishing a fantastic try. Played nicely as an extra distributor. Had to organise everything in the last 20 with Sheedy completely anonymous.
12. Uilisi Halaholo – 4
Halaholo had some great touches and made some strong tackles. Wales could have used Halaholo as a kicking option more, but this is no fault of Halaholo’s own. On another day, he sees more space.
11. Josh Adams – 7
With the sun in his eyes, Adams’ wing was targeted in the first half and he came through unscathed. Slammed Monty Ioane into touch with a try-saver and scored an almost crucial try.
10. Dan Biggar – 4.5
This wasn’t the 100th cap Biggar was dreaming of. He had to break his vow of silence in front of referees. Didn’t kick much ball early on – an uncharacteristic lack of game management.
9. Gareth Davies – 3
A good alternative to the in-form Tomos Williams, Davies often looks sharp against weak defences. Italy were wise to Davies today, and he struggled to adapt.
1. Gareth Thomas – 3
Thomas has made an impact in his two starts this campaign. Carried and tackled well, although he struggled at scrum time.
2. Dewi Lake – 6.5
Overthrew an early lineout but remained composed for the rest of the game. Scored his first try for Wales, bringing them level. Came up with a strong jackal or two.
3. Dillon Lewis – 2
Really struggled against the monumental Danilo Fischetti. A good player, but didn’t make the same impact Tom Francis has made in this tournament. Rightly culled at half-time.
4. Adam Beard – 4
Saved Wales’ bacon at the end of the first half by folding an Italian maul. Otherwise quiet.
5. Alun-Wyn Jones – 4
Had a pretty typical game for a man in his 30s who has been thrust into an international game after his return from injury. Far below his god-like standards, but a decent performance from the 150-cap titan.
6. Seb Davies – 4
Not the best day to judge a wide forward like Davies – didn’t get much opportunity to show his capability in the system before coming off.
7. Josh Navidi – 6.5
Slowed Italy’s ball at crucial moments. Came up with a key turnover to kill Italy’s early second half momentum. Was vital in bringing Wales back into it.
8. Taulupe Faletau – 3.5
Had a quiet game by his standards. Props to Italy for keeping his touches limited.
16. Bradley Roberts – N/A
Didn’t make a significant impact.
17. Wyn Jones – 4
Came up with a big turnover and nearly scored a try. Good impact from Jones.
18. Leon Brown – 5
Significant improvement on Brown, dominating his first scrum.
19. Will Rowlands – 3.5
Made a good lineout steal but didn’t make much of a significant impact.
20. Ross Moriarty – 4
Swept up a loose ball and made a few tackles, but sadly not enough to bring Wales victory.
22. Callum Sheedy – 2
Did nothing other than throw a pass into touch. Both of his centres had to organise for him. Very, very poor.
23. Nick Tompkins – 5
Tried his best to organise his backline, but to no avail.
By Will Owen, @RugbyPass