Wales were pushed all the way by Italy in the Six Nations match at the Millennium stadium, but eventually holes appeared and they came through with two tries to stay on course for their third Championship in eight years.
The pundits had predicted that Wales would outflank the Azzurri with their big fast backs. But the Italians had done their home work and quick line speed meant that they stood firm in defence. Perhaps George Clancy was a bit whistle happy but at least he was consistent all through the game. So it was that at half-time with the lions share of possession Wales only led 9-3 thanks to the boot of Halfpenny whilst Bergamasco slotted one for Italy.
We expected the Italians to fall off tackles in the second period as their tackle count was three times that of Wales. But they stuck to the task and so it was that an Italian error was to open a gap for Jamie Roberts to slip through and then surprise us with his pace to reach the line the conversion was made and Wales led 16-3. Wales had previously had opportunities to take the points but opted to run and so it was that when down to 14 men they still managed to restrict Italy and Priestland stretched them out to 19-3 with a penalty. As we entered the final phase the Italians would not buckle and it was some individual brilliance and then power that saw Alex Cuthbert close the game out with the final whistle approaching to give us the score of:
Wales 24-3 Italy
Tries: Roberts, Cuthbert
Pens: Halfpenny 3, Priestland
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 1 Gethin Jenkins(C), 2 Matthew Rees, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 5 Ian Evans, 6 Dan Lydiate, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Toby Faletau
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Luke Charteris, 62), 19 Ryan Jones, 20 Rhys Webb, 21 James Hook, 22 Scott Williams
Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Luke McLean, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 5 Cornelius van Zyl, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 7 Simone Favaro, 8Sergio Parisse (C)
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D’Apice, 17 Fabio Staibano, 18 Marco Bortolami, 19 Robert Barbieri, 20 Tobias Botes, 21 Tommaso Benvenuti, 22 Giulio Toniolatti
Referee : George Clancy (IRE)
Touch judges : Peter Fitzgibbon (IRE) & Peter Allan (SCO)
TV : Geoff Hughes (ENG)