Wales beat Italy 26-9 in a scrappy Six Nations encounter in Rome on Saturday thanks to tries by Jonathan Davies and Alex Cuthbert. Italy were without inspirational leader Sergio Parisse, who received a heavy banned earlier in the week.
Leigh Halfpenny had another good game as he landed some impressive kicks at goal, only missing one attempt all match. Italy flyhalf Kris Burton himself kept the hosts in it for most of the first half, but early in the second Wales extended their lead as Davies snapped up a bobbling ball.
Not long after prop Martin Castrogiovanni was yellow carded for a scrum infringement, Wales scored again, this time through wing Cuthbert, giving the visitors a sizable advantage.
“The second half was all about composure and patience. We were clinical and took our opportunities,” said interim Wales coach Rob Howley.
“We had to be flexible and change our game plan a little bit There weren’t always going to be opportunities in a game like that and probably the conditions suited Italy. But to come away winning 26-9 is something which I would have taken at the beginning of the game.”
Italy coach Jacques Brunel said his team didn’t manage territory as well as the Welsh.
“It’s true that we were only at 9-6, but we never had control of the game. They controlled the play, especially with the boot and in the scrum. They were more precise than us in their play.
“In the second half we had the chance to score and five minutes later they have a similar kick and they score from it. That’s the difference,” Brunel said.
Wales face Scotland at Murrayfield in two weeks time, while Italy face England at Twickenham.