Wales ease past Italy

Wales stay on course for the Grand Slam with a comfortable 24-3 win over Italy in rugby's Six Nations in Cardiff.

    Wales make it four wins from four and face World Cup finalists France in next week's final round [GETTY]

    Wales overcame a tenacious Italian side 24-3 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday to move to within one victory of a third Six Nations championship Grand Slam in eight seasons.

    Second half tries to centre Jamie Roberts and right wing Alex Cuthbert gave Wales an ultimately comfortable win despite losing fullback Leigh Halfpenny for 10 minutes when he was sent to the sin bin.

    Halfpenny was shown a yellow card after he collided with Italy captain Sergio Parisse when both players went for a high ball.

    The win put Wales on course for the Grand Slam next Saturday when they host World Cup finalists France in Cardiff.

    Glory hunt

    "We've got a chance, we're at home" coach Warren Gatland told the BBC.

    "I thought the crowd today...on the way into the stadium were fantastic. Next week we'll try and keep our heads down and not do too much.

    "If we do achieve a Grand Slam, three in eight years, that'll be pretty special."

    Wales monopolised possession in the first half, with Italy forced to make 76 tackles to the home side's 14.

    But their only reward when the teams turned around was three Halfpenny penalties to one from Mirco Bergamasco.

    Ten minutes into the second Roberts finally breached the Italian defence when Wales turned the ball over within their own half.

    The ball went wide to Roberts, who feinted left then cut inside and raced through unopposed to score between the posts.

    Three minutes before fulltime the powerful Cuthbert scythed through the Italian defence to score on the right flank.

    "We knew it was going to be tough," Cuthbert said.

    "Their work rate was outstanding and it was hard to break them down."

    Gatland said he thought the yellow card decision by Irish referee George Clancy had been harsh.

    "The man with the whistle didn't make it very easy for us today, I thought he was pretty pedantic. That was frustrating but the boys tried really hard.

    "That was pretty tough really. I thought he was a little bit unlucky, but we dug deep in that 10 minute period and kicked three points," he said.

    "It turned into a bit of a dogfight but that happens sometimes.”

    SOURCE: Reuters


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