Italy vs Wales Six Nations match preview: What time does it start and where can I watch it?

A look ahead to Saturday's Six Nations clash between Italy v Wales

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The Independent Online

In Saturday's early kick off Wales will take on Italy at the Stadio Olimpico knowing that they need to win by a sizeable margin to stand a realistic chance of taking the Six Nations title.

Wales sit third in the table, joint on points with England and Ireland, but with an inferior points difference of 25 less than leaders England, they will be looking to pile on the points and post a target for their title rivals to chase later in the day.

Warren Gatland has made two injury-enforced changes to his starting line up ahead of Wales' trip to Rome.

Rob Evans makes his first start at loosehead prop and Aaron Jarvis comes in at tighthead, in the absence of Gethin Jenkins and Samson Lee.

 

Scarlets half-back Gareth Davies could come on to make his second appearance for Wales as he starts as a replacement, ahead of Mike Philips, who drops out of the match-day squad.

Ken Owens has been called up to the bench as injury cover for Richard Hibbard. Scott Andrew, Rhys Gill have also been named as replacements.

Lee ruptured an Achilles tendon in the first scrum of the game against Ireland last Saturday and Gethin Jenkins is out after failing to recover from the hamstring injury that forced him off at half time.

The Welsh have not lost to the Azzurri since 2007 but they only beat Italy by eight points when the teams last met and have not won by a bigger margin than seven in this years tournament.

Leonardo-Ghiraldini.jpg
Leonardo Ghiraldini will captain Italy in the absence of Sergio Parisse

As always, Italy are in no position to challenge for the title at this stage of the tournament, however, they will be desperate to improve on last weekend's poor performance.

Jacques Brunel has made four changes to the team that started against France and will be without his talismanic captain for his sides last game of the tournament.

Sergio Parisse limped from the field against France after sustaining a foot injury so his fellow centurion Mauro Bergamasco comes into the back row and Samuela Vunisa fills in at number eight.

Italy will also start with a new pair of props, Martin Castrogiovanni replaces Dario Chistolini and Michele Rizzo takes over from Matias Aguero.

Fit-again Kelly Haimona starts at fly half, in the absence of the injured Tommy Allan.

The Azzurri failed to score at home for the first time in their Six Nations history last Sunday but they have already spared themselves from a second successive wooden spoon with a sole win over Scotland in this years competition.

TEAMS:

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), George North (Northampton Saints), Jonathan Davies (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Liam Williams (Scarlets); Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys); Rob Evans (Scarlets), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Rhys Gill (Saracens), Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets).

Italy: Luke McClean (Sale Sharks), Leonardo Sarto (Zebre Rugby), Luca Morisi (Benetton Treviso), Andrea Masi (London Wasps), Giovanbattista Venditti (Zebre Rugby); Kelly Haimona (Zebre Rugby), Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso), Michele Rizzo (Leicester Tigers), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Leicester Tigers, capt), Martin Castrogiovanni (Toulon), George Biagi (Zebre Rugby), Joshua Furno (Newcastle Falcons), Francesco Minto (Benetton Treviso), Mauro Bergamasco (Zebre Rugby), Samuela Vunisa (Zebre Rugby)

Replacements: Andrea Manici (Zebre Rugby), Alberto De Marchi (Sale Sharks), Dario Chistolini (Zebre Rugby), Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre Rugby), Robert Barbieri (Leicester Tigers), Guglielmo Palazzini (Zebre Rugby), Luciano Orquera (Zebre Rugby), Enrico Bacchin (Benetton Treviso). 

KICK-OFF: Saturday at 12.30

PAST THREE MEETINGS:

Wales 23 Italy 15, Six Nations, February 2014

Italy 9 Wales 26, Six Nations, February 2013

Wales 24 Italy 3, Six Nations, March 2012

STATS:

Alun Wyn Jones is the only man in the Welsh match day squad that featured in Wales last loss to Italy in March 2007

Wales currently top the 2015 Six Nations tackle chart with 611.

Italy have only beaten Wales twice since they joined the competition in 2000.

The Italians have lost more scrums (6) and more lineouts (11) than any other team in this year's tournament.

ODDS:

Italy to win: 8.5

Wales to win: 1.04

Draw: 46.0

TV: Live on BBC 1 at  12.30

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