GARETH DUNCAN reports on Wales’ 24-16 win over Italy in Rome on Saturday.
It was a close contest in the Italian capital but in the end, Wales held on for a hard-fought victory. Italy produced a much improved performance after their 59-13 defeat to England a fortnight ago, but the hosts would rue poor goal kicking and decision making which cost them the match.
Both teams opened the scoring early as centre Gonzalo Canale and wing Morgan Stoddart crossed the chalk for Italy and the visitors in the first quarter respectively. Wales then built a commanding lead as flanker Sam Warburton grabbed his team’s second try while flyhalf Stephen Jones added the extras and two penalties. Italy wing Mirco Bergamasco added two penalties for the score to read 21-11 at half time.
Italy starved Wales of possession after the restart and they cut the deficit to six points as skipper Sergio Parisse crashed over in the corner. The hosts then had the opportunity to score more valuable points as they were awarded several kickable penalties, but they opted to pursue the try at the wrong times and Bergamasco and replacement flyhalf Luciano Orquera failed to find the target.
Wales took advantage of Italy’s missed opportunities as centre James Hook slotted a late drop goal to seal the win.
Italy 16(11) – Tries: Gonzalo Canale, Sergio Parisse. Penalties: Mirco Bergamasco (2).
Wales 24(21) – Tries: Morgan Stoddart, Sam Warburton. Conversions: Stephen Jones. Penalties: Jones (3). Drop Goals: James Hook.