Six Nations Game 7 - Wales vs Italy (47-2)
The Italians have been slow to start their last two games, and they intended to try better this time round. But they gave away two silly penatlies in the first few minutes, to take Wales into a 6-0 lead.
In the 12th minute, Wales stuffed up their own lineout deep in their own half; Italian prop Martin Castrogiovanni caught the overthrow and dived for the line for a try. Unfortunately, Andrea Marcato's conversion hit the woodwork. But all of a sudden, Italy were only trailing by one point. They spilled another try-scoring performance around 20 minutes, when Ezio Galon passed to Gonzalo Canale, who knocked on within inches of the line. Kiwi Coach Nick Mallett was literally hopping mad in the stands!
In the 28th minute, Wales hit back with a lovely team-engineered try from Lee Byrne [left], who dived over in the corner. Stephen Jones' conversion was good, giving the Welsh a 13-5 lead.
Plenty more endeavour, but no more scores until just before the final whistle for half time. Italy's forwards were pushing hard against the Welsh defence; they had the line in site with pick and drive moves, Wales infringed and Marcato's kick for 3 points was clean, even from a tight angle. So the Azzurri would be happy to go in 13-8 down at the break.
Wales struck a killer blow two minutes in to the second half, when Andrea Masi threw a terrible pass which was intercepted by Tom Shanklin [right], who ran in under the posts from half way. Jones' conversion was simple. And Shanklin will be celebrating his 50th Cap with a great try, taking his team to a 20-8 lead.
Within another minute, Dwayne Peel went off with blurred vision after an earlier knock, Mike Philips came on for him, and made a blistering break up the wing. He passed out of a tackle but the receiver couldn't quite finish it off. The Welsh won a lineout close to the Italian line, and the Azzurri infringed, so Jones took another three points, 23-8.
Mirco Bergamasco was sin-binned for killing the ball, so spent 10 minutes of his birthday in disgrace. Stephen Jones kicked another penalty to make the score 26-8.
Wales managed to gather another of their own overthrown lineouts, and it passed through hands until the last man on the wing was Shane Williams [left] - who scored a lovely try in the corner, his 38th in the red jersey. Stephen Jones made it 7 out of 7 kicks, Wales romping away at 33-8.
The rout continued in the 67th minute when Lee Byrne scythed through the Italian defensive line and ran in from the half way line. Tired Italian legs could do nothing to stop him. James Hook, on for Stephen Jones, took the extras and Wales were up for a 40-8 lead.
Turning the screws further, Shane Williams cut through the Azzurri's defence, swerved past several tackles and made a blistering run to finish off his second try. Hook made it 47-8, the final score, and another win under Welsh belts. They march on next week to a possible Triple Crown if they can beat Ireland.