Azurri rule in Rome

A late try from centre Mauro Bergamasco gave Italy a dramatic 23-20 win against Wales.

Trailing by five points with three minutes to go, the Azurri set up several rolling mauls, before taking the ball wide. A clever chip kick by flyhalf Ramiro Pez sat up perfectly for Bergamasco who sent the capacity crowd into raptures.

There was more drama to come when Wales quickly forced their way back into Italian territory and were awarded a penalty with 10 seconds to go. The Dragons asked referee Chris White if there was time for the line-out, he said yes, only to blow for fulltime when the ball went into touch.

The win was Italy’s second in two weeks, while Wales are now favourites to claim the wooden spoon.

The home side had earlier got off to a solid start with two penalties and a 6-0 lead. However, Wales hit back when James Hook’s chip kick was regathered by Tom Shanklin who put Shane Williams away for the opening try.

The Italians responded with a try of their own just before the break, forcing a turnover inside Welsh territory from which Jaine Robertson kicked upfield. The winger beat Ian Gough to the loose ball and scored under the posts.

Wales made a good start to the second half when hooker Matthew Rees regained the ball from an attacking line-out, threw a dummy and went over to make it 17-13.

Trailing by seven points after another Hook penalty, the Italians twice set up a rolling maul close to the Welsh tryline only to be penalised for truck ‘n trailer.

However, a Pez penalty with three minutes to go drew the Italians within striking range and set up a thrilling finale.

Italy – Tries: Jaine Robertson, Mauro Bergamasco. Conversions: Ramiro Pez (2). Penalties: Pez (3).
Wales – Tries: Shane Williams, Matthew Rees. Conversions: Stephen Jones, James Hook. Penalties: Hook (2).