- Tries from Stoddart and Warburton send Wales home with a win
- Italy left to rue missed kicks and chances
Italy 16 Wales 24
Wales survived a strong second half effort from Italy to emerge with a 24-16 victory from their RBS 6 Nations clash at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome. Both sides missed chances, but Wales' second win in a row puts them back in the championship.
Despite Gonzalo Canale putting Italy ahead, Wales had the better of the first half with Morgan Stoddart and Sam Warburton crossing the line and Stephen Jones adding three penalties and a conversion.
It could have been far more than a ten-point gap at half time, but Sergio Parisse's try got Italy back into the contest after the break and they proceeded to exert pressure on Wales, especially in the pack, for the remainder of the match.
Mirco Bergamasco kicked two penalties but also missed a pair of very makeable ones, and those missed chances ultimately cost the Azzurri the chance of a rare RBS 6 Nations win, as James Hook slotted a late drop-goal to seal the points for Wales.
Jones kicked an early penalty for Wales, but the visitors conceded the game's first try on five minutes when a loose Welsh pass was picked up by Canale on his right touchline.
Canale was able to chip over and dive on the ball himself to liven up the home crowd, but they were silenced just four minutes later when Wales went back in front.
Hook broke through the line before finding Lee Byrne who fed Stoddart - and the winger managed to twist and drop to the line for the five points, before Jones missed the conversion.
Bergamasco kicked Italy level at 8-8 after 12 minutes, but straight from a poor restart Wales burst through again in the shape of Byrne and then Hook, who had Warburton on his shoulder to slide in under the posts.
After scoring a try, Stoddart then saved one when he prevented a diving Alessandro Zanni from grounding the ball after leaping over a try-line ruck, but a Bergamasco penalty still reduced the gap down to four points at 15-11.
Italy grew in confidence as Wales missed a couple of chances, but a pivotal two minutes at the end of the first half saw Jones kick two penalties, the second after Italy failed to find touch with a penalty in an attacking position, and the hosts instead went into the break ten points adrift.
Italy turn up the pressure
Wales allowed Italy back into the game in the 52nd minute, with number eight Parisse picking up the ball and barging his way over Jones before tumbling over the line for 21-16.
Bargamasco missed with the conversion, just as he did with an earlier penalty, and as the contest grew tighter those misses would become ever more crucial.
Italy grew in stature as they heaped pressure on the Welsh lineout and scrum deep in their own territory, but when they got another penalty on the hour mark replacement Luciano Orquera emulated Bergamasco in missing a makeable kick from 40 metres.
After absorbing all the pressure for most of the half, Wales finally found some breathing space with six minutes left, when Hook sent over a drop-goal under pressure to move the visitors two scores ahead on 24-16.
Needing more than a converted try now, Italy had to abandon their grinding power game and throw the ball around, which almost worked when Mauro Bergamasco only just failed to gallop in down the left wing three minutes from the end.