Six Nations Championship 2021: Wales take step towards Grand Slam with 48-7 win over Italy in Rome
Tries from Josh Adams, Taulupe Faletau, Ken Owens (2), George North, Callum Sheedy and Louis Rees-Zammit helped Wales to a comfortable 48-7 win over Italy in Rome, as Wayne Pivac's charges made it four wins from four in the 2021 Six Nations
By Brian Barry
Last Updated: 13/03/21 6:14pm
Wales comfortably shrugged off Italy 48-7 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to stay on course for the Six Nations Grand Slam.
The bonus-point victory leaves Wales firmly in the driving seat at the top of the Six Nations table, with one game left in the campaign.
The Welsh dream of claiming the most unlikely of clean sweeps remains very much alive after a routine afternoon in Italy. The final leg of the Grand Slam bid sees them face France at the Stade de France next Saturday.
While aspects of their wins over Ireland, Scotland and England in this campaign could be described as fortuitous, it was all plain sailing for Wales in Rome. They drubbed their hosts and scored seven tries in the process.
Winning on a margin of 41 points will do their title ambitions no harm whatsoever, should they fail to clinch the Grand Slam in Paris.
It was another afternoon to forget for Italian rugby, as their losing streak in the competition now stretches to 31. The Azzurri struggled throughout, with poor discipline and low possession gifting their visitors the platform for the dominant victory.
The tone was set right from the off, as Paolo Garbisi's kick-off went too far, running into the Welsh try area. That allowed the visitors to work their way up the field, and a third-minute Dan Biggar penalty sent them into a lead which they would not relinquish.
Wales found themselves back deep into Italian territory moments later. Gareth Davies tapped a quick penalty, forcing Luca Bigi to tackle the scrum-half without having retreated the required distance. The Italian hooker was shown a yellow card.
Wales took full advantage of their numerical advantage, with Josh Adams touching down in the left corner for the game's first try.
The Triple Crown champions smelt blood, continuing to pour forward and stretching their hosts' defence. Taulupe Faletau crossed the try-line on the right wing. By the time Bigi returned to the field in the 18th minute, Italy trailed 0-15 and the game was already over as a contest.
Try number three quickly followed. Ken Owens was at the back of a maul, after a Welsh line-out on the 5m line.
The Scarlets hooker then added another. Italy's maul defence was struggling to cope, and Owens peeled around the side to dive across the line, sealing the bonus-point on the 30-minute mark.
Louis Rees-Zammit had a try disallowed due to a forward pass from Biggar in the build-up, but that came as little respite for the Azzurri. Wales led 27-0 at the break, with Italy enduring no spell of sustained possession in the first-half.
There was no let-up after the restart, as a Jonathan Davies off-load released George North to break through the Italian defence to touch down beneath the posts within two minutes.
Italy finally registered a score on the 50-minute mark, as Monty Ioane opportunistically executed a chip-and-chase down the blindside to stop the rot.
Wales looked to cancel it out immediately, but the TMO denied Adams, deeming the winger's boot to have gone into touch before he grounded the ball.
Italy's woes were compounded when Marco Riccioni led with the elbow while carrying into contact, and was sent to the sin-bin.
The remaining 14 players were unable to keep the Welsh at bay, as substitute Callum Sheedy and Louis Rees-Zammit got in on the try-scoring act.
From there, Wales contained the Italians, who were hunting a late consolation try.
Overall, it was a highly satisfactory afternoon for Wayne Pivac and Co, as focus now flips to next weekend's trip to Paris.