Wales survive brutal Azzurri despite self-inflicted wounds

Italy 16 Wales 24

Wales continue to both delight and frustrate their followers in equal measure after blowing hot and cold in the Eternal City. At times in the first half against Italy in Rome, Wales were rampant and they scythed through the Azzurri jerseys with mesmerising speed of hand and foot.

With James Hook providing the silken glove to Jamie Roberts' iron fist, they boast what is probably the most exciting centre partnership in Europe today. That partnership may have come about more by accident than design given that Hook, on his 50th Test appearance, was lining up in his third position in as many games of this Six Nation campaign due to injury to Jon Davies. But the Ospreys playmaker, who will join Perpignan next season, proved he can still make Wales tick whatever number is on his back.

He combined with Ospreys team-mate Lee Byrne, another heading to France after the World Cup, for both Welsh tries, first for Morgan Stoddart and then the excellent flanker Sam Warburton.

Hook said: "The performance wasn't great but at the end of the day we won. We're now two from two on the road and that's something to build on. We probably expected more from ourselves but the big thing was winning. When we all sat down in the changing room after the game, that was what counted most.

"There were negatives in our game," he added. "We started really well in the opening 20 minutes and our attacking flair was good but we played within ourselves in the second half and that was frustrating."

That frantic opening should have paved the way for a far more comfortable afternoon in the Italian sun but Byrne's "try" was ruled out for a disputed forward pass – much to Welsh chagrin – while Wales also possess the innate ability to make things hard for themselves. Mistakes born from over-ambition and their self-destructive lack of discipline meant Warren Gatland's side struggled to shake off the Italians from their coat tails.

Handling errors by Bradley Davies and then Stephen Jones presented tries to Gonzalo Canale and then Sergio Parisse in either half to ensure Italy had a sniff of another victory over Wales in a World Cup year. However their kickers missed 10 points at goal, a deficiency hammered home by Hook's late drop goal.

Roberts said: "I was pleased with our performance but also frustrated at times. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by doing one good thing and then making a silly error the next.

"We scored two good tries but didn't push on because our discipline, more than anything, let us down. We conceded 15 penalties which wasn't very clever, especially as most of them were in positions where we just didn't to give anything away.

"You have to give Italy credit. The game was brutal at times and there was some pretty battered bodies the next morning. But they launched their game off our mistakes. They got territory from penalties and both their tries came from out errors. I'm sure they will be kicking themselves that they missed so many kicks.

"We put ourselves under pressure and if we do that against Ireland they have the players to punish you. But we have two wins on the road and we could still have a say in this Championship."

The remaining games could also define the future of Italy coach Nick Mallett. With France in Rome and then a trip to Murrayfield to come, the former Springbok coach is set to be cut lose before the World Cup if Italy suffer a whitewash

Italy: Tries Canale, Parisse. Penalties Bergamasco 2.

Wales: Tries Stoddart, Warburton. Conversion S Jones. Penalties S Jones 3. Drop Goal J Hook.

Italy L McLean; A Masi (T Benvenuiti, 74), G Canale, A Sgarbi, M Bergamasco; K Burton (L Orquera, 62), F Semenzato (P Canavosio, 70); S Perugini (A Lo Cicero, H-T), L Ghiraldini, M Castrogiovanni (S Perugini, 70), S Dellape (V Bernabo, 50), Q Geldenhuys, A Zanni, S Parisse (capt), R Barbieri (M Vosawai, 70)

Wales L Byrne; M Stoddart, J Hook, J Roberts, S Williams; S Jones, M Phillips; P James, M Rees (capt, R Hibbard, 77), C Mitchell, B Davies, AW Jones, D Lydiate, R Jones, S Warburton.

Referee: W Barnes (England)

The match statistics

Points

Italy 2        Tries        Wales 2

Italy 0/2        Conversions        Wales 1/2

Italy 2/4        Penalties        Wales 3/3

Italy 0/0        Drop goals        Wales 1/1



Phases of play

Italy 1        Scrums won        Wales 6

Italy 0        Scrums lost        Wales 0

Italy 13        Line-outs won        Wales 4

Italy 4        Line-outs lost        Wales 0

Italy 5        Pens conceded        Wales 15

Italy 3        Mauls won        Wales 3

Italy 19        Ruck and drive        Wales 21

Italy 94        Ruck and pass        Wales 59

Team statistics

Italy 191        Passes made        Wales 150

Italy 2        Line breaks        Wales 3

Italy 21        Possession kicked        Wales 26

Italy 2        Kicks to touch        Wales 3

Italy 91        Tackles made        Wales 142

Italy 10        Tackles missed        Wales 5

Italy 17        Offloads in tackle        Wales 10

Italy 16        Total errors made        Wales 13



Ball won

Italy 116        In open play        Wales 83

Italy 25        In opponent's 22        Wales 19

Italy 29        At set-pieces        Wales 15

Italy 1        Turnovers won        Wales 4

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea