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RBS 6 Nations 2011: Italy v Wales Preview

Wales travel to Rome to face Italy on the afternoon of Saturday 26th February 2011 as the third weekend of RBS 6 Nations 2011 Rugby Union matches gets underway at the Stadio Flaminio.

Wales got their tournament back on track after their opening round humbling at the hands of England by visiting Scotland in Murrayfield and thumping them 24-6.

Italy went oh-so-close to opening with a remarkable home victory over Ireland, only to fall agonisingly short to a last minutes Ronan O’Gara drop goal to lose 11-13, before getting obliterated by England, in Twickenham last time. They are still hunting their first victory of RBS 6 Nations 2011 as a result.

Starting Line-ups

Italy Starting XV

  • 15 Luke McLean
  • 14 Andrea Masi
  • 13 Gonzalo Canale
  • 12 Alberto Sgarbi
  • 11 Mirco Bergamasco
  • 10 Kristopher Burton
  • 9 Fabio Semenzato
  • 1 Salvatore Perugini
  • 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini
  • 3 Martin Castrogiovanni
  • 4 Santiago Dellape
  • 5 Quintin Geldenhuys
  • 6 Alessandro Zanni
  • 7 Robert Barbieri
  • 8 Sergio Parisse

Italy Replacements

  • 16 Carlo Festuccia
  • 17 Andrea Lo Cicero
  • 18 Valerio Bernabo
  • 19 Manoa Vosawai
  • 20 Pablo Canavosio
  • 21 Luciano Orquera
  • 22 Tommaso Benvenuti

Wales Starting XV

  • 15 Lee Byrne
  • 14 Morgan Stoddart
  • 13 James Hook
  • 12 Jamie Roberts
  • 11 Shane Williams
  • 10 Stephen Jones
  • 9 Michael Phillips
  • 1 Paul James
  • 2 Matthew Rees
  • 3 Craig Mitchell
  • 4 Bradley Davies
  • 5 Alun Wyn Jones
  • 6 Dan Lydiate
  • 7 Sam Warburton
  • 8 Ryan Jones

Wales Replacements

  • 16 Richard Hibbard
  • 17 John Yapp
  • 18 Jonathan Thomas
  • 19 Josh Turnbull
  • 20 Tavis Knoyle
  • 21 Rhys Priestland
  • 22 Leigh Halfpenny

Match Officials

  • Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
  • Assistant Referee: Dave Pearson (England)
  • Assistant Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
  • TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

Italy v Wales RBS 6 Nations 2011 – Match Predictions

Three weeks ago, after Italy held Ireland and almost grabbed an unlikely win in Rome in the opening round, given Wales’ defeat at the hands of England, this match might have been expected to go very close. This week, with Italy having been humbled by England and Chris Ashton, and Wales having, at last, managed to put two halves of good rugby together in the same match in Murrayfield, the momentum is very much with the Welsh.

Much depends upon Italy’s ability to stop the impressive finishing trio of Shane Williams, Morgan Stoddart and Lee Byrne. Wales have James Hook – who ran the show against Scotland – back into his more usual position at 13, with Stephen Jones returning at 10, which is a move which may go either way: Jones has something of a point to prove, after years of sublimity in the 10 shirt.

Italy need to regain the discipline they showed against the Irish, in defence, and stop Wales from scoring more than a try in each half. Otherwise, this looks like being a 10+ point victory to Wales, who have their tails up, at last.

Whether Italy can bounce back might come down to their home support. It could happen, but Wales are strong favourites.

Italy need to be in touch with 15 minutes remaining, or its likely they will fade; at which point, finishers like Shane Williams start feeding on five point opportunities.

How the sides are mentally prepared for this match is everything, leading to yet another fascinating RBS 6 Nations prospect for rugby union fans.

Your Predictions

Up until kick-off, you may cast your prediction for who will win this RBS 6 Nations clash below (leave a comment at the bottom with your rationale, when doing so):

[poll id=”11″]

Match Details

Italy v Wales will kick-off at 16:30 CET (15:30 GMT) in the Stadio Flaminio, Rome, Italy, on Saturday 26th February 2011.

About Robin Scott

Robin Scott
Robin Scott is co-founder and publisher of The Global Herald.

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