Six Nations 2015: Italy 20-61 Wales
|Italy (13) 20|
|Tries: Venditti, Sarto Pens: Haimona, Orquera|
|Wales (14) 61|
|Tries: Roberts, L Williams, North 3, Webb, Warburton, S Williams Cons: Biggar 6 Pens: Halfpenny 2, Biggar|
Wales produced a stunning second-half performance to crush Italy by a record margin, but Ireland took the Six Nations title, despite England coming within a converted try of lifting the trophy.
Warren Gatland's side finished in third place on points difference even though the overwhelming victory in Rome had kept their title hopes alive until the closing stages of Scotland v Ireland.
Wing George North raced in for a hat-trick of tries against Italy, as Wales turned a one-point half-time lead into a 41-point winning margin.
Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams, Scott Williams, Rhys Webb and Sam Warburton also crossed. Fly-half Dan Biggar contributed 15 points with the boot.
Italy scored tries through wings Giovanbattista Venditti and Leonardo Sarto, the latter converted in the last minute by replacement fly-half Luciano Orquera.
There was little in a first-half stalemate to suggest Wales could cut loose in the manner they did.
Their front row struggled at the scrums and the backline were prone to errors, as Italy belied the poor form that had seen them capitulate 29-0 to France last week.
Roberts scored a first-half try for Wales, answered by Venditti, with Leigh Halfpenny kicking a brace of penalties which were matched by Kelly Haimona and Orquera, who also converted Venditti's try.
Biggar took over Wales kicking duties when Halfpenny left the field with concussion after tackling Samuela Vunisa, and his penalty gave Wales a barely-deserved 14-13 lead at the break.
However, the Welsh emerged a different team for the second half, with Liam Williams getting the ball rolling when he touched down after Webb's quick penalty.
Two minutes later Liam Williams sent North racing over for his first try and when Andrea Masi was shown a yellow card for an early tackle, the floodgates opened.
Wales were were simply irresistible, with man-of-the-match Alun Wyn Jones inspiring a revitalised pack.
North completed his hat-trick in 10 minutes, followed by scores for Webb, Warburton - after a sensational 80-yard move - and Scott Williams, as Warren Gatland's team made Italy pay for Quintin Geldenhuys' yellow card.
Sarto's last-minute sprint down the left touchline ended a run of 47 unanswered points, and the Welsh fans gave their team a hearty ovation before heading off to find hostelries screening Scotland v Ireland and England v France.
Italy: 15-Luke McLean, 14-Leonardo Sarto, 13-Luca Morisi, 12-Andrea Masi, 11-Giovanbattista Venditti, 10-Kelly Haimona, 9-Edoardo Gori; 1-Michele Rizzo, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini (capt), 3-Martin Castrogiovanni, 4-George Biagi, 5-Joshua Furno, 6-Francesco Minto, 7-Mauro Bergamasco, 8-Samuela Vunisa
Replacements: 16-Andrea Manici, 17-Alberto De Marchi, 18-Dario Chistolini, 19-Quintin Geldenhuys, 20-Robert Barbieri, 21-Guglielmo Palazzani, 22-Luciano Orquera, 23-Enrico Bacchin
Wales: 15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-George North, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-Liam Williams, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Rhys Webb; 1-Rob Evans, 2-Scott Baldwin, 3-Aaron Jarvis, 4-Luke Charteris, 5-Alun Wyn Jones, 6-Dan Lydiate, 7-Sam Warburton, 8-Taulupe Faletau
Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Rhys Gill, 18-Scott Andrews, 19-Jake Ball, 20-Justin Tipuric, 21-Gareth Davies, 22-Rhys Priestland, 23-Scott Williams.
Referee: Chris Pollock NZL
Touch judges: JP Doyle ENG & Luke Pearce ENG
TMO: Simon McDowell IRE
|Provided by Accenture|
|7 (0)||Scrums won (lost)||6 (0)|
|6 (3)||Line-outs won (lost)||16 (0)|
|56 (5)||Rucks/mauls won (lost)||72 (1)|
|17||Kicks from hand||32|
|112 (19)||Tackles made (missed)||76 (15)|