Six Nations

Wales demolish Italy

2015-03-21 16:38
George North (AP)

Rome - A hat-trick of tries by George North sparked Wales to a 61-20 thrashing of Italy in their final Six Nations match on Saturday and left it all to do for fellow title hopefuls England and Ireland later.

Wales coach Warren Gatland had been looking for a win of over 40 points and he got it as the Welsh sprang into action after leading only 14-13 at half-time in Rome.

Their victory - helped by Italy being reduced to 14 men on two occasions - ended France's slim hopes of the title as the Welsh went to eight points, the French can at best get to six if they beat England later on at Twickenham.

More pertinently the Welsh improved their points difference to plus 53 leaving the English requiring a victory of 16 points over the French and the defending champions Ireland a demanding 20 point win over the Scots in Edinburgh.

Both Ireland and England are on six points.

However, Wales will have to wait to receive the trophy as the authentic one is at Twickenham and a replica at Murrayfield leaving no possibility of a third one in Rome.

If they win it they will be handed it on their return to Wales on Sunday.

Ireland are bidding to win successive titles for only the second time (1948/49), while Wales could be looking at their third crown in four years and gain a boost heading into the World Cup later in the year.

England are seeking their first Six Nations title since 2011 as they host an under-performing France - who have not won at Twickenham since 2005 - in the final match.

With England playing France last, coach Stuart Lancaster has decided to wait until half an hour before the kick-off to give his team talk so his players are clear as to what they need to do - apart from obviously beating the French.

"We firstly have to understand what will be the challenge. The Ireland match in Scotland will finish at about 4.25pm (also GMT) and we kick off at five," said Lancaster, who since taking over after the 2011 World Cup debacle has guided his side to second on the past three occasions in the championship.

"We will have to make sure the players understand the objectives. It might be just to win the game, or it could be to win it by 10 or 20 points.

"It is certainly a unique situation where the end of the championship is decided with staggered times, with the teams playing last knowing there is a certain points differential to score."

For the Irish, who saw their dream of only a third Grand Slam ended by Wales in a humdinger of a clash last weekend, it is a case of sticking with the solid no-frills strategy of coach Joe Schmidt which has served them well over the past two years but seen them score just four tries in this campaign.

"For us there's big trust in what we're doing," said O'Connell, who will win his 101st Irish cap."That's probably the biggest thing I see from a player point of view that's different from other teams I've been involved in - there's massive trust in what we're doing."

Read more on:    italy  |  wales  |  six nations  |  george north  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk


Who will win the 2017 Six Nations title?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.