Wales will finish second in the Six Nations after a record-breaking win over Italy
Tries from Rhys Webb, Dan Biggar and Jonathan Davies, gave the hosts a 27-0 lead at the break
Further tries from Jamie Roberts, George North, Liam Williams, Ross Moriarty (2) and Gareth Davies secured the victory
Guglielmo Palazzani and Gonzalo Garcia got consolation tries for the visitors
Wales ended their 2016 Six Nations campaign on a high as they romped to a resounding nine-try victory against Italy at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.
It was a controlled patient opening 40 minutes by Warren Gatland’s men. They scored three tries through Rhys Webb on his return, Jonathan Davies and Dan Biggar, who also kicked 12 points to give the hosts a 27-0 lead at the break.
Wales then got even better after the restart as further tries from Jamie Roberts, George North, Liam Williams, Ross Moriarty (2) and Gareth Davies wrapped up the comfortable victory. Guglielmo Palazzani and Gonzalo Garcia though were able to grab deserved consolation tries for the visitors.
The result means Wales, who suffered their only defeat to England, will finish in second while Italy, who have only won two games in the last twelve months, finish bottom of the pile, picking up a fifth wooden spoon in the last 11 years.
Following last weekend’s poor opening, Wales started with a bang when Webb sniped over on his return to score the game’s opening try after just four minutes. The scrum-half darted around the driving maul following a five-metre lineout before dotting down himself. Dan Biggar, confident as always, then added the conversion to give Gatland’s men an early seven-point lead.
The fly-half then extended Wales lead from the tee with 14 minutes gone, 10-0.
Things then got worse for the Azzurri as they lost Guglielmo Palazzani to a yellow card before Biggar knocked over another three points to give the hosts a 13-point lead.
Wales then got their second try just before the half-hour as Biggar, who is not a noted running fly-half, glided through some paper-bag tackling before playing a delightful one-two with Jamie Roberts to split open the Italian defence and score under the posts. The number 10 then added the simple conversion, 20-0.
Try number three came minutes later in glorious fashion as Davies finished off a superb counter-attack to dot down between the sticks with Biggar once again adding the two to open up a 27-0 lead, which they held heading into the break.
Patient build up from the Welsh delivered a fourth try four minutes after the restart as Roberts dived over in the corner after a pin-point offload from North opened up the space to charge into. Biggar though couldn’t add the extras from the touchline, 32-0.
Roberts’ then returned the favour as his dummy run up the middle then sucked in a posse of Italy defenders, leaving a yawning gap for the fleet feet of North, who charged through, stepping off his left to leave Luke McLean floundering to go in under the posts. Biggar couldn’t miss on this occasion as he extended the lead to 39-points.
One of Italy’s better performers Palazzani then got over for a consolation try with Kelly Haimona adding the extra two points, 39-7.
Wales though scored again soon after as Williams, with a dip of the shoulder, darted through the Italian defence for try number six. Biggar then added the conversion to reestablish the hosts 39-point lead.
A well-worked try from Gonzalo Garcia soon after though once again closed the gap with Haimona again adding the extras, 46-14.
The hosts again responded with try number seven through Moriarty, who forced his way over for his first Test try after 64 minutes. Rhys Priestland, now on for Biggar, added the extras as Wales moved past the half century mark.
Moriarty and Gareth Davies then grabbed late tries to take Wales total to nine with Priestland converting both to complete the scoring, 67-14.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Wales: George North
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate (c), 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Gareth Anscombe
Italy: 15 David Odiete, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Andrea Pratichetti, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Guglielmo Palazzani, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Valerio Bernabo, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Matteo Zanusso, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Jacopo Sarto, 20 Abraham Steyn, 21 Alberto Lucchese, 22 Kelly Haimona, 23 Luke McLean
Date: Saturday, March 19
Venue: Millennium Stadium
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)