Six Nations: Wales battle to routine 26-15 victory over rugged Italy

Aubrey Yates
February 12, 2019

Jonathan Davies conceded Wales will have to improve their performance considerably against England after toiling to victory over Italy in the Six Nations on Saturday.

It was all about Wales in the first half hour as they capitalised on the infringements made by Italy with Dan Biggar kicking four penalties to take the scoreline to 0-12.

"We were looking at the bigger picture, we wanted to (give) everyone an opportunity to be involved in the first two games", the New Zealander said.

We've got a chance, we're at home, the stadium will be full and it'll be some atmosphere at the Principality Stadium.

But he warned, "If we play like that against England it could be embarrassing".

We didn't really get out of jail.

You're not always brilliant and we weren't today. I don't think it ever looked like we were going to lose the game, but we weren't as accurate as we could have been. "We will be a lot better against England", said Gatland.

"I think there was a lot of frustration", Davies said, remarking that Wales had failed to generate enough points despite dominating territory and Italy giving up 11 penalties, nearly twice the number handed to the visitors.

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Wales' usual skipper Alun Wyn Jones came off the bench after 50 minutes and helped lift the side with his imposing on-field presence.

Elsewhere, centre Owen Watkin, flyhalf Dan Biggar, lock Jake Ball and hooker Elliot Dee are all included, with Navidi moving from blindside flank to No 8.

He was already being asked by rugby writers if it was time to re-embrace Italy's traditionally defensive style of play, based around the scrum, which left less room for errors and occasionally earned the Azzurri a win.

Italy: 15-Hayward; 14-Padovani, 13-Campagnaro, 12-Morisi, 11-Esposito; 10-Allan, 9-Palazzani; 1-Quaglio, 2-Ghiraldini, 3-Ferrari, 4-Sisi, 5-Budd, 6-Negri, 7-Steyn, 8-Parisse.

"We lost a couple of opportunities in the second half, but the team was still fighting and scored a try in the end".

"It's bloody hard. We have the ability, but when you don't have the confidence it's difficult".

Wales, who beat France in their opening match, dominated possession but scored only two tries in a performance unlikely cause many concerns for their next opponents, England.

But, seven months out from the World Cup in Japan, Gatland was satisfied to be heading back to Cardiff - and a date with England in a fortnight - with two wins in the bag.

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