🏴 🇮🇹 #WALvITA Match Thread
New coaches on both sides, Faletau's back, Parisse's gone, and George North at centre. The post-Gatland era begins today as Johnny McNicholl gets his first #Welsh cap, and you can expect to see a Welsh team looking more to attack than the defesive posture that won them last year's Grand Slam as Pivac exerts his risk-taking offensive strategies. #Italy will be ready to pounce on those gaps, with plenty of speed and skill in the back. #rugby #Wales
3m Hands on the floor from Italy gives Wales a penalty. Biggar lines up.
WAL 3-0 ITA Biggar slots an easy three and Tom Jones sings out "It's not unusual".
Wales under a bit of Italian pressure. A one-handed off-load by Canna to Bellini sends the winger storming down the left wing but Halfpenny brings him down.
McNicchol scoops up a box kick leading to a frantic attack f=down the left wing, Williams touches it down from a grubber but a knock-on brings us back for a blue scrum on the Italian 5.
Solid Italian scrum physically, technically not so much. Italy penalised at the breakdown gives Wales another per=nalty, but McNicholl takes a knock to the noggin and is being assessed.
WAL 6-0 ITA Biggar again, trickier angle than last time but three more on the board.
Nick Tomkins on for McNicholl.
Wow. Well we are definitely seeing an attacking Wales, eager to run at space given even a fraction of a chance. Halfpenny chips and chases but takes what looks like a reasonable knock but ref says it's intentional trip, penalty Wales. Biggar lines up for third time.
WAL 9-0 ITA And this is why some say we need penalty caps in the new rules. 15 minutes, three penalties, Wales with an easy lead.
WAL 14-0 ITA Textbook schoolboy play puts Josh Adams over the line in the left corner. Great use of width by Wales. Biggar finally misses one from far left.
Tomkins showing off some prize-winning jackalling, McNicchol passed his assessment though so they'll be swapping back shortly. Halfpenny with another great chase and reminds us why he's so great in the air contests.
Uncharacteristic early engagement from the Welsh pack, scrum is now blue.
The game has settled down a bit and Italy are now showing some solid almost Wales-like defense, but a little flat and a little slow. Channels are tightening up though as Italy adapts to this attacking Welsh play.
WAL 21-0 ITA Entertaining pass between the legs from Halfpenny to Adams gives Wales and Adams their second try. Biggar kicks from the same spot as last time, this time successfully.
Pivac should be happy with the attacking this half, but Ken Owens / Welsh scrum not so much. Italy clearly messing with everyone's heads in the pack down.
Gorgeous chargedown from Tomos Williams of all people, nearly a try but can't quite keep his hands on the regather. Italy's Sarto cleans up. So close.
Italy win a penalty at the breakdown just 5m out from the Welsh goal line. Italy free kick, eager to get some points. Advantage Italy from Wales collapsing the maul. Come on Italy! Let's end this half with points on the board! Wales defense bundles the Italian effort into touch and we're off for oranges.
#WALvITA Halftime Score
WAL 21-0 ITA
Wales appear to have drunk the Pivac koolaid, it's been a one-sided game for the backs, lots of kicks, high balls, attacking chases. Forwards have some cleaning up to do, ragged around the edges, but still Wales in dominant control thus far.
#WALvITA 46m Italian replacements - props Andrea Lovotti and Giosue Zilocchi off, Danilo Fischetti and Marco Riccioni on. Captain and lock Alessandro Zanni is off, replaced by Dean Bugg. AWJ collapses a maul and it's penalty Italy. Let's see if this new front row can change things up for the Italians.
Good clean line-out for Italy leads to a rolling maul, Italy now on the attack and they earn a penalty, call for the scrum, set piece with fresh boots just shy of the try line. Scrum is good and Italy try some moves but end up giving up a penalty and losing their momentum. Wales not flustered at all.
Yet another Welsh scrum goes down to an Italy penalty. Third time for Wales this match. Italian set piece working well, just need to turn it into ball in hand with forward motion...
WAL 28-0 ITA Tipuric with a wonderful turnover, Cory Hill carries, ball cycles to Tompkins for a fantastic break, dummy, and acceleration to the line for his first try for Wales. Biggar cleans up the two.
Rhys Webb. Remember him? He's on the field. Bienvenue!
Tompkins sets up his somewhat struggling outside wing North for a lovely try, but TMO shows us a shave of a nudge from Tompkins so it's a knock-on and North is denied. Blue scrum.
Ten minutes to go, Wales really need to secure a bonus point here today. Biggar's off for Jarrod Evans to a loud cheer from the crowd, Italy hooker Luca Bigi makes way for Federico Zani.
Wales lose the ball in the Italy 22, but it's kicked out on the full so Wales line-out on the Italy 22 and six minutes to go. Maul, penalty advantage, Rhys Webb to Jarrod Evans, can't go anywhere, back for the penalty and will it be to the corner? Yes, Wales needs their bonus point so down to the 5 for a line-out.
Wales go through phase after phase, Rhys Webb coolly recycling to attacker after attacker. Wales hammering the pick and go, North nearly fumbles, and...
WAL 35-0 ITA North clutches the ball, spins, gets the ball onto the chalk and it's try Wales. Halfpenny assumes duties and cleans up for the extras. Bonus point in the bag.
Clock is red, Italy make a break but lose it to Halfpenny. Wales break forward and North makes ground. Tompkins hungry for a final flourish. Phases flow and Wales are 2 metres out.
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