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Wales beat Italy 23-19 but win is marred by injuries to Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny

Wales player Leigh Halfpenny is stretchered off  during the International match between Wales and Ireland at Millennium Stadium.
Image: Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny receives oxygen as he is stretchered off at the Millennium Stadium

Wales suffered two massive injury blows in their final World Cup warm-up game as influential duo Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny were carried off in a 23-19 win against Italy at the Millennium Stadium.

Webb scored five tries in nine Tests last season but he could miss the World Cup after he appeared to suffer a serious injury which forced him to leave the field following a lengthy stoppage.

Halfpenny crossed the 500-point mark for Wales in the second half in Cardiff but he too left the pitch in pain to leave coach Warren Gatland with serious concerns as he prepares Wales for their opening match of the tournament against Uruguay on September 20.

Italy had opened the scoring after just three minutes when Leonardo Sarto crossed in the corner.

Sergio Parisse intercepted an Alex Cuthbert pass and despite Scott Williams stopping him short of the line, the Azzurri recycled the ball allowing Sarto to nip in for the score, although Tommaso Allan was unable to convert.

Leonardo Sarto of Italy dives over for the opening try during the International Match between Wales and Italy at Millennium Stadium
Image: Leonardo Sarto of Italy dives over for the opening try of the game

Parisse was in the thick of it soon afterwards when he appeared to lead with his elbow in an aerial challenge with Alex Cuthbert that left the wales wing with a bad cut to his head but Parisse avoided censure.

Allan then slotted over a penalty to extend Italy's lead to eight points but George North crossed after Scott Williams picked him out with a precise pass – Halfpenny failed to add the extras.

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Wales then lost Webb to injury after he seemed to trap his knee at the bottom of a ruck and with the hosts keen to re-establish some control in the game, Halfpenny elected to kick a penalty rather than go for the corner to level matters at 8-8.

Rhys Webb is stretchered off the field at the Millennium Stadium
Image: Rhys Webb was also forced off in the win over Italy

But the visitors were back in the lead at half-time, Allan slotting a penalty after Dominic Day went in late on Edoardo Gori.

Halfpenny's kicking was proving as reliable as ever and two penalties in swift succession took him past 500 international points.

Italy were proving to be dogged opponents, though, and they drew level after Carlo Canna dropped behind the ruck to make space for a drop-kick that went over with the help of the post.

Wales player George North runs in the first try during the International match between Wales and Ireland at Millennium Stadium
Image: George North scores Wales' only try in Cardiff

Two more penalties from Halfpenny in quick succession saw Gatland's side retake the lead but he left the field on a stretcher soon afterwards and had to receive oxygen.

Dan Biggar took over kicking duties in the absence of Halfpenny and he fired over another penalty, only for Italy to have the final say in the contest.

Guglielmo Palazzani crossed in the corner with the final attack of the game and despite Canno missing the conversion from a tricky angle, Italy will have gained confidence going into their first World Cup encounter against France.

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