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WALES EARN BONUS POINT VICTORY OVER ITALY IN SIX NATIONS

Posted on 11 March 2018

Wales v Italy pic

Wales defend a ruck against Italy in the Six Nations Champiionship on Sunday

Wales 38 Italy 14

WALES turned on the style in the second-half of their NatWest Six Nations Championship clash with Italy at the Principality Stadium to grab a bonus point victory and give them the chance to claim second place in this season’s tournament.

Returning wing George North scored two of his side’s five tries.

Wales’ start was with the purpose of overwhelming an Italian outfit which looked all at sea.

Within four minutes, Scarlets centre Hadleigh Parkes had the first try on the board when he outfoxed and bumped Zebre opposite number Tommaso Castello out of the way from five metres and went over easily.

And moments later, Wales were on course to hand out a thrashing when Ospreys centre Owen Watkin charged fifty metres upfield into the opposition 22 before handing a slick pass to wing George North to race over for the second try of the match.

It seemed easy as the Italians offered little in the way of resistance. But the visitors were not going to give in that easily and found their feet.

A ruck five metres from the Welsh line gave scrum-half Macello Violi the chance to fire the ball onto the blindside where full-back Matteo Minozzi was waiting and rounded Watkin and scrum-half Gareth Davies to touch down in the left corner.

The conversion from fly-half Tommaso Allan was excellent and suddenly Italy were back in the match.

The Principality Stadium atmosphere felt flat as the half turned turgid for a while, although a booming tackle by captain and number eight Taulupe Faletau, on his return to international action, on Allan which left the stand-off needing medic assistance, gave the home crowd something to shout about.

And, from there, Wales regained the ascendency. Davies picked up a delicate cross-kick from wing Steff Evans and ran over the tryline but the score was ruled out as the scrum-half was two metres offside.

A penalty from fly-half Gareth Anscombe just before half-time gave Wales a ten-point lead going into the interval.

And the game was put beyond Italy within three minutes of the re-start when Dragons lock Cory Hill received a pass from Davies to drive over from a few metres.

Anscombe converted, but Wales were down to 14 men on 48 minutes when Davies was sent to the sin-bin.

Yet, even with a man down, Wales were far too good for Italy. Parkes almost got his second when he bundled his way over the line only for the video ref to rule it out.

Wales turned the screw in the last quarter as North was put over for his second touchdown after a pass from replacement fly-half Rhys Patchell, which Leigh Halfpenny, on for full-back Liam Williams, converted.

That gave Wales a bonus point in the Six Nations Championship and they wrapped up the day when Patchell fed Parkes and the centre sent a long pass left to flanker Justin Tipuric on the touchline. The Ospreys back row rumbled over, with Halfpenny converting.

Italy did manage a consolation try when wing Mattia Bellini was put over in the left corner from a few yards by replacement Federico Ruzza, with sub Carlo Canna converting form the touchline.

But it made little difference to the final outcome as Wales enter the last weekend of this year’s Six Nations Championship in second place behind winners Ireland.

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Photos from Photographer, Jeff Thomas

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