24 Feb 2013

Six Nations: Wales thrash Italy

9:35 am on 24 February 2013

Defending champions Wales kept their Six Nations rugby hopes alive on Saturday with a 26-9 victory over Italy in a rain-sodden encounter at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Although Italy trailed by just three points at the break, converted second-half tries from Jonathan Davies and Alex Cuthbert, as well as the sin-binning of Italian captain Martin Castrogiovanni, set the Welsh on the road to a comfortable win.

Having opened the tournament with a loss at home to Ireland, Wales beat France two weeks ago in Paris to end an eight-Test losing streak.

Italy struggled with the Welsh scrum throughout and never looked like repeating the performance that stunned France in their opening home game, with all their points coming from Kristopher Burton penalties.

Wales went ahead on seven minutes through a Halfpenny penalty after Italy were punished for being offside but Burton levelled matters three minutes late when the Welsh were penalised for an infringement at the scrum.

Two further Halfpenny penalties was all Wales had to show for controlling much of the half while another Burton penalty on 35 minutes meant just three points separated the sides at the end of the first period with the visitors going in 9-6 in front.

The decisive moment of the match came four minutes after the restart when Burton misjudged the bounce of the ball from a Mike Phillips kick and Davies grasped the chance to score the opening try of the game.

Halfpenny converted and penalties were exchanged before Castrogiovanni received a yellow card for constant Italian infringements at the scrum. Two minutes later, Cuthbert sliced through the Italian defence to touch down for a second Welsh try and Halfpenny again slotted over the resultant conversion.