Wales wear down Italy in Rome


Wales produced a professional second-half display to start their 2017 Six Nations campaign with a 33-7 win over Italy in Rome on Sunday.

The greasy conditions at the Stadio Olimpico made for a scrappy affair, which seemed to suit the hosts - who led 7-3 at the interval thanks to Edoardo Gori's try.

Leigh Halfpenny's boot had Wales 12-7 in front 15 minutes after the restart, before the visitors took full advantage of Andrea Lovotti being sin-binned by scoring two tries in the time the prop was off the field.

First to go over was Jonathan Davies, who then provided the final pass for Liam Williams to score in the left corner.

With around 15 minutes still to play, Wales may have been eyeing a first winning bonus point in Six Nations history, but they could only manage one more try - George North making light of a thigh injury as he raced away down the right and cut inside for a scintillating score.

The last action of the game saw Williams lose control of the ball just short of the line to ensure a bonus point evaded Wales, who nevertheless take their place at the top of the fledgling table ahead of hosting defending champions England next week.

A disjointed opening produced little in the way of fluent attacking play, Halfpenny wasting an opportunity to give Wales an early lead when he missed from the tee in the third minute.

Italy were penalised inside their own 22 three times in succession, but on each occasion the visitors elected to kick for the corner and were repelled.

And those passed-up points seemed costly when Italy got the first score of the game shortly before the half-hour, Gori touching down under the posts following a sensational inside pass from Sergio Parisse in the build-up.

Halfpenny got Wales on the board with a penalty in the 35th minute and as Wales dominated in the second period, the full-back added nine more points, with Italy continuing to transgress.

The momentum was firmly with Wales by now, and pressure at the scrum saw Lovotti sent to the sin bin in the 59th minute.

Wales wasted no time in capitalising on their numerical advantage, spreading the ball out to the right where Davies had the simple task of running in untouched.

Davies turned provider in the 66th minute, feeding Williams on the overlap as the wing touched down in the left corner, before North's solo effort capped an impressive second-half showing.