Wales dominated a one sided affair against a struggling Italy side this weekend, here are Thomas Booth’s player ratings from an intriguing affair.
Wales dominated the first half racing into a 22-0 lead sparked in no small part but that Italian captan’s sin binning. The away side looked sharp for the first forty running in a number of impressive tries as the Italians suffered at home.
There was a dip in intensity from Wales after a spate of substitutions early in the second half. Credit must go to Italy however for making more of a game of it once the dangerous Monty Ioane went over for an excellently taken try.
Italian spirit but again they fall well short
Although Italy had a good fifteen to twenty minutes in the second half, the clamour for a change to the tournament structure and its participants will not go away as long as the Azzurri’s losing streak continues. They hammered away at the Welsh line at the end but couldn’t get a second try to lift their spirits. As for Wales, they have a sterner test ahead of them away to France on the twentieth of March.
Italy versus Wales – Away team player ratings
Full back – Liam Williams. Can make defence and attack look easy at times when mopping up an Italian kick through or beginning a counterattack in his own half. Still blotted his copybook with a dropped pass midway through the second half. 8.
Wing – Lewis Rees-Zammit. So rapid in attack in this, his breakthrough tournament. Not tested defensively but showed agility and pace for his intercept try. Also had one disallowed in the first half. A real threat. 8.5.
Centre – George North. Was full of running and appears to be enjoying this tournament and his appearances in the centre. Ran a good angle with balance, speed and power for an early second half try. Subbed shortly after. Likely to rest him for the tougher test of France next weekend. 8.
Centre – Jonathan Davies. Was second to Halaholo in the tackle count for the backs with ten and set North up for his try. However he nearly gifted Italy a breakaway try with a poor kick ahead. A mixed bag you might say. Did he show enough to keep his place against the French? 7.
Wing – Josh Adams. Got an early try after the Italians had infringed and the ball was shifted out wide from a Welsh scrum. Didn’t have it all his own way though. Didn’t ground quickly enough resulting in him going into touch for what would have been a beautiful Welsh backline move on 53 minutes. 7.
Outside Half – Dan Biggar. Biggar started well with an early penalty conversion and a well taken catch from a Gareth Davies box kick. He continued in that vein with a nice pass for the Adams try which he nearly repeated when setting up Rees-Zammit for his disallowed effort. Biggar’s pass was judged correctly to be forward. 8.5.
Scrum Half – Gareth Davies. Put in some good box kicks and was consistent and reliable with his distribution. None of his usual sniping runs today. 7.
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Prop – Wyn Jones. Gave away a couple of penalties but Wales won one hundred percent of the scrums on their own ball. Put in a respectable nine tackles before being subbed just before the hour mark. 8.
Hooker – Ken Owens. Ten from ten for lineouts in what can be a problem area for Wales. Scored a brace in the first half. Drove over for the first on twenty minutes, for his second he showed good finishing skills to stretch and reach for the line. 8.
Prop – Tomas Francis. Part of a dominant Welsh pack that performed well as a unit. 7.
Lock – Cory Hill. Second only to Faletau amongst the forwards in metres made with the ball in hand. Secured Welsh lineout ball when called upon. Was penalised once for not rolling away in the tackle. 7.5.
Lock – Alun Wyn-Jones (captain). Would get a nine for belting out the Welsh national anthem pre-match! Was disciplined and marshalled his troops well. Subbed early in the second half, no doubt with the French game in mind. 7.5.
Flanker – Josh Navidi. Put in a big shift both in defence and attack. Led the Welsh tackle charts and set up the Sheedy try with quick hands when under pressure. 9.
Flanker – Justin Tipuric. Could be relied upon again and again for lineout ball. Is a calming influence who rarely has a bad game in him. 8.
Number Eight – Taulupe Faletau. Scored a try when Italian captain, Luca Bigi went into the sin-bin early on. He was used out wide by Wales regularly to take advantage of his running and offloading ability. Topped the forwards for metres made. 8.
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Hooker – Elliot Dee. Came on and helped maintain Wales’ upper hand at scrum and lineout. 7.
Prop – Rhys Carre. Part of a completely new front row for the majority of the second half. Did what was asked of him. 7.
Prop – Leon Brown. Added weight and fresh legs to the forward effort. 7.
Lock – Jake Ball. Came on for his fiftieth cap and had an untroubled afternoon. 7.
Number Eight – Aaron Wainwright. Carried and tackled well but will have been disappointed to turnover ball to the Italians. 7.5.
Scrum Half – Lloyd Williams. Had thirty minutes after coming on for Davies and was efficient with his passing from the base of the scrum. 7.5.
Outside Half – Callum Sheedy. Scored after coming on following a sustained period of Welsh pressure and slotted over two straightforward conversions. While not being first choice at outside half, he has still had a good Six Nations. 7.5.
Centre – Uilisi Halaholo. Made a lot of valuable tackles after coming on for North. He was penalised for a high one. The Cardiff man is putting pressure on Davies for his place at centre. 7.5.
Wales have a shot at what would, at the start of the tournament be considered an unlikely Grand Slam. France can still win the Championship with a bonus point win against Wales and a victory in the rescheduled game with Scotland.
Do you agree with the player ratings from the Wales vs Italy game? Let us know.
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