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Saturday, February 01, 2014

Wales get past defiant Italy in Six Nations opener in Cardiff

Defending Six Nations champions Wales weren't as convincing as they would have liked to be but managed to hold off a determined Italy side in Cardiff, winning 23-15 after leading 17-3 at halftime thanks to tries by Alex Cuthbert and Scott Williams. 

Young Italian back Michele Campagnaro had a fantastic game for the visitors, scoring two tries which resulted in his Man of the Match award despite being on the losing side.

Wales are after a third consecutive Six Nations title but will need to lift the standards again when they travel to Dublin to face Ireland next weekend.

"I thought we were positive in terms of our attacking play but Italy were dogged and competed pretty hard all game," Wales coach Warren Gatland said post match.

"Defensively I thought our structure was pretty good. Italy made it tough for us.

"I think in the past when we have come under pressure like that we might not have had the composure to finish it off but we did today. We're champions and every team is going to come at us and make it tough."

As Italy threatened to get back into the match, Leigh Halfpenny's boot kept the hosts out in front.

*Extended official highlights have now been added below

What were your thoughts on the match? 

Posted by Rugbydump at 4:31 pm | View Comments (14)

Posted in Six Nations 2014

Viewing 14 comments

db February 01, 2014 10:00 pm

That's a VERY lateral pass in the build-up to the first Italian try.

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DrG February 02, 2014 1:57 am

Disappointed by Italy not being able to capitalise on the game...

I thought they actually played the better game but unfortunately were not able to produce the goods, or perhaps 'keep their composure' is a better way to put it (seeing as they did score twice!).

Seemed to me that Italy played the more exciting rugby. Wales did very well to capitalise on the Italian mistakes and also produce some good attacks of their own. My heart goes out to the Italian 14 on his debut missing that ball that lead to Cuthberts try.

Great game, hopefully more awesome performances from Italy to come, I hope for Wales sake they iron out the kinks.

I thought so far the rugby from both games today was great, hope it continues tomorrow and throughout the tournament.

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DrG February 02, 2014 2:27 am

Have to add; on another note, I thought Nigel Owens performance was brilliant.

I sort of looked away at one point when I looked back and there appeared to be a Frenchman touching heads with 'Brown' (?), - so would we go so far as to call it a headbutt? I vote no.. - and when Brown said something to Nigel Owens he said something like 'You're both acting like children'. I just thought it was brilliant, no need to take anything further.

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Guy February 02, 2014 8:52 am

'You are both acting very immature'.

Another allready classic oneliner by Owens. Maybe the only ref that adds entertainment value to the matches he's in charge of.

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DrG February 02, 2014 12:15 pm

Hmmm posted that in the wrong video comments - Thanks for correcting me Guy, couldn't remember exactly what it was but I thought it was the perfect solution.

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Nick2 February 02, 2014 6:22 am

Great future for Italy ahead. Impressive performance.

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Reality February 02, 2014 6:24 pm

Great to see some young rising stars in the Italian side. Campagnaro seems to be the full package; he's very quick for a centre, has a good step and seems pretty good in defense. In fact the whole three quarter line seemed to have great potential, in spite of Esposito's disaster moment.

For me their biggest problem is the dinosaurs in the pack. Castrogiovanni is turning into an Italian Chabal. He gets dominated regularly in the scrum and can't last a full match. Cittadini is far better than him but stays on the bench; why? Bortolami as well; he's had a decade to prove himself and all he's done is prove how average he is. Minto or Van Zyl or anyone should have been there instead of him. Mauro Bergamasco too; too many stupid penalties given away. I really hope Brunel brings in some new blood in the pack and not just in the backline.

Finally, a change at scrumhalf would be nice. A 5-10m gain for each kick to touch isn't really acceptable.

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matt February 02, 2014 7:58 pm

That pass was comical. I'm glad it wasn't give because it was a good try and kicked some life into the game for us neutrals. But it was still clearly forward. I don't really agree with this new 'direction of the hands' malarky, I think it leads to some very dubious results.

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Gian February 03, 2014 12:19 am

there is a ref on the field for these decisions and a TMO. Are you better?

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jog1986 February 03, 2014 7:11 pm

So what you are saying is that the referee, assistants and TMO never get it wrong...interesting one that is.

As soon as they scored I said that there was a forward pass earlier in the play. The pass was forward; commentators thought so, everyone I have spoken to thought so, somehow the officials came to a different conclusion.

As matt said, this concept of the direction of the hands seems to have put in a grey area whereby passes that are forward are now not being given. Thankfully, this awful decision had no impact on the final outcome of the match.

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A Train February 03, 2014 1:34 am

As a southern hemisphereian I have no idea so can some one tell me, how long has the 6 nations been running and has Italy improved over that time?

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DrG February 03, 2014 2:59 am

As someone who has seen quite a few games, I can say Italy has improved immensely...

Really they haven't had many victories, but it appears that with every 6N game they play, they always seem to show just a little bit more progression each time. They've been really held back in the past by having a fantastic front 8, and then a pathetic 9-15... or a good 1-9 a terrible 10 and then an ok 11-15...

Having a 10 that appears to be able kick (even if he has missed a few) is a great help to them. He also appears to have a good head on him too..

As for how long the 6N has been going on? Um (google) since 2000, it was the 5 nations before that - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France.

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Phil mc avity February 03, 2014 7:36 am

Scotland will finish last this 6 nations. I don't think they've progressed in a while...

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DrG February 03, 2014 9:50 am

I find for every forward step they've taken in one area, they've taken a backwards step somewhere else.

I said in the Scotland video that their discipline appeared to be better in the opening game (not great, but better), but they seem to have lost something elsewhere. Unless of course they were just out gunned by Ireland... But yes, last might be right as I think they're away to Italy.

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