Italy make single change for Six Nations test in Wales


Wales women kick-off proceedings against Italy at 11.45am on Sunday when Principality Stadium welcomes its millionth fan

Warren Gatland made 10 alterations for the visit of winless Italy after back-to-back defeats to England and champions Ireland, and North's display helped ensure Wales avoided a third straight loss - which would have been the first time they had suffered that fate in the competition since 2006. "We are doing a lot of the right things, blooding young players, putting systems in place and building for the future, but we want to win games".

In their previous two home matches, against South Africa and Scotland, Wales were 14-0 up within 11 minutes and they continued the trend with two tries in the first six minutes through Hadleigh Parkes and George North before tapering off for the rest of the half.

And popular Scrum V reporter Phil Steele was effusive in his praise of Wales centre Hadleigh Parkes' performance.

A yellow card for Wales either side of halftime perhaps prevented an even greater margin of victory, but Gatland now has tough choices to make ahead of next week's tournament finale against France, which could decide second place.

"We've got 14 or 15 games to go to the World Cup next year and we have spoken about the strength in depth that we have created". But we achieved what we wanted to do and we have our destiny in our own hands next week.

DESPITE GETTING OFF to a dream start under the Principality Stadium roof, Wales made heavy weather of their Six Nations clash with Italy.

A second try came just two minutes later as center Owen Watkin, making his first Six Nations start, intercepted a pass in the midfield before finding returning wing North outside of him.

Italy bounced back nearly immediately after their early double setback with the excellent fullback Matteo Minozzi crossing for his third try of the Championship.

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Gareth Davies had a try disallowed for off side and Anscombe added a penalty before full back Williams was sent to the sin bin on the stroke of half time for a high hit on Minozzi.

"I thought the yellow card was fair - we had no problems with it", the coach said.

"The roof of the stadium will be closed and that's fine by us", said O'Shea at the prematch press conference. "I was disappointed. Whether he had to make the tackle, did he need to go that high?"

For the next 10 minutes Italy had the better of the match, but were unable to eat further into Wales' lead as a presentable penalty was kicked to the corner rather than the posts, before Tommaso Allan failed to convert a second from longer range.

Wales' numerical disadvantage had little effect with Hill flying over for his first global try in the 42nd minute.

Wales bounced back from successive defeats to England and Ireland, despite suffering two yellow cards and being reduced to 13 men early in the second half.

Italy did have the final say, as a turnover led to winger Bellini finishing off a slick move.

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