Gatland's side claim maiden Six Nations win in Rome

Gatland's side claim maiden Six Nations win in Rome

Wales claimed a much-needed first victory of this year's Six Nations after seeing off Italy 29-17 in Rome.

Warren Gatland's side arrived at Stadio Olimpico having only scored three tries in the tournament, but Rio Dyer, Liam Williams and Taulupe Faletau all crossed as they also earned the bonus point.

The result brought welcome relief for Wales, who could have lost their top-10 status in the world rankings with defeat in what was the likely wooden spoon decider.

Meanwhile, Italy continued their dismal record on home soil, where they have now suffered 25 successive defeats since beating Ireland 10 years ago.

Owen Williams kicked Wales in front and extended their lead to 10 points in the ninth minute when Rhys Webb's punt bounced fortuitously for Dyer to cross.

Tommaso Allan reduced the deficit but Liam Williams put the visitors back in control, the full-back evading five challenges before going over.

The hosts looked to respond and Juan Ignacio Brex was just unable to ground after a brilliant break from Paolo Garbisi. 

Wales subsequently pulled further clear as they were awarded a penalty try when Lorenzo Cannone collapsed the maul after Ken Owens drove his side over the line.

Despite the numerical disadvantage after Cannone was sin-binned, Italy made a bright start to the second half with Sebastian Negri collecting Allan’s punt to touch down.

But their momentum was halted when Pierre Bruno was also sent to the bin for a dangerous challenge on Wyn Jones, the winger fortunate to escape a red card after narrowly avoiding contact to the head.

Wales capitalised with the extra man to secure the bonus point, Webb bursting away before offloading for Faletau to go over. 

Italy had the final word, Brex crossing after a neat move but, despite a late rally, they could not deny their opponents victory.

A welcome return for Webb

One of six changes from the defeat to England, Webb was starting his first Test for Wales since October 2020.

The Ospreys scrum-half, who made his debut against Italy just over 11 years ago, marked his return with a man-of-the-match display.

His clever punt ricocheted kindly for Dyer's try, while he demonstrated brilliant pace to pave the way for Faletau to go over.

A chance goes begging for Italy

Having already scared France and Ireland in Rome this year, Italy would have fancied their chances of recording a second successive win over Wales.

While the Azzurri were spirited once more, they could not quite replicate those performance levels.

They had momentum after a bright start to the second half with Negri's try, but Bruno's yellow card handed the initiative back to Wales, who duly capitalised.

Key Opta Facts

- Wales have now won each of their last eight Six Nations away games against Italy, their longest ever such streak against any side in the championship.

- Wales won a Six Nations game for the first time in seven attempts after losing six in a row previously, a run which was their longest without a win in the championship since 2002-2003 (L7).

- Wales’ winning margin of 12 points is their largest in the Six Nations since their last trip to Rome, when they won by 41 points (48-7 in March 2021).

- Italy have now lost each of their last 25 home games in the Six Nations, but they have scored over 10 points in each of their last four home games in the championship, after failing to do so in six previously.

What's next?

Wales conclude their campaign at Stade de France against Grand Slam-chasing France next Saturday, while Italy look to finish a generally encouraging tournament in style away at Scotland on the same day.

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