Wales 42-0 Italy: Josh Adams hat-trick helps Six Nations champions to bonus-point win
By Tony Tighe
Last Updated: 01/02/20 5:09pm
Josh Adams scored a hat-trick as Wales began the defence of their Six Nations title with a 42-0 whitewashing of Italy.
Victory was never in doubt once Adams crossed for two tries in 12 minutes to help Wales into a 21-0 lead on the half-hour.
They had to wait another 28 minutes for their next score, however, debutant Nick Tompkins displaying lovely footwork as he surged over from 40 metres.
Frustration levels grew as Wales entered the closing stages still searching for the bonus-point try, but it arrived with four minutes remaining when George North powered over from close range.
Adams completed his hat-trick on the final play to put the seal on a comprehensive victory.
Bar the long wait for a bonus point, Wayne Pivac could not have asked for a more comfortable start as Wales head coach.
His side built early scoreboard pressure through three Dan Biggar penalties and a landslide win looked on the cards when slick passing put Adams over in the corner on 18 minutes.
Italy showed brief flashes of quality but their intent to offload and keep the ball alive backfired, with Adams crossing again thanks to a through-the-legs pass from Biggar.
Focus then shifted to the try bonus point but Wales were made to wait as the stubborn visitors refused to throw in the towel.
The third try finally arrived when two replacements combined - Cory Hill making a fine break with Tompkins then bamboozling the scrambling Italian defence for a debut score.
North had a try ruled out for a knock-on by Tompkins as Wales frantically chased a bonus-point try, but Cardiff breathed a collective sigh of relief when skipper Alun Wyn Jones helped North over the line from close range.
Adams crashed over on the final play to compete the rout, the wing's 14th try in 22 Test appearances.
Wales mixed their game up nicely, with Leigh Halfpenny excellent in attack and Taulupe Faletau impressing on his return to the Test arena after a two-year absence.
The dominance of the Wales forwards allowed half-backs Biggar and Tomos Williams space to shine, with the former throwing an audacious assist for Adams' second try, while North showed glimpses of his potential at centre.
Italy constantly looked to Jake Polledri to get them over the gainline and the Gloucester man did not disappoint in a performance full of heart and commitment.
Italy have lost 23 successive Six Nations games and look no closer to ending that abysmal run.
Interim coach Franco Smith started with two playmakers in Tommaso Allan and Carlo Canna but their kicking game was abject. Italy won a scrum penalty on 23 minutes, only for Allan to undo their good work by failing to find touch.
Wales' big concern will be their failure to make their dominance count on the scoreboard until the closing stages. A number of scoring chances went begging. They cannot afford a repeat against Ireland next Saturday.
Stat of the game
42 - 42-0 is @WelshRugbyUnion's third biggest win in the #SixNations (67-14 v Italy 2016, 51-3 v Scotland 2014) and the first time they have prevented the opposition from scoring any points in a Six Nations match (3rd time in any match in professional era). Dominant. pic.twitter.com/DcbfmffXwi— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) February 1, 2020