Wales change 11 for Six Nations trip to Rome

Florence Fletcher
February 12, 2019

Alun Wyn Jones has been rested and will sit on the bench for the clash against tournament underdogs Italy, with Jonathan Davies taking over captaincy duties.

"We have made a number of changes but have picked what we think is a very exciting team that still has huge experience throughout it", Wales coach Warren Gatland said in a statement.

Italy though strengthened their defence and managed to reduce the arrears to five points before the break with Braam Steyn racing over as he dived from close range for the opening try of the game and Tommaso Allan slotted the conversion as teams ended the first half with a 7-12 scoreline. We said at half time that we expected Italy would be as tough as they always are in that first half.

ITALY - J Hayward; E Padovani, M Campagnaro, L Morisi, A Esposito; T Allan, G Palazzani; N Quaglio, L Ghiraldini, S Ferrari; D Sisi, D Budd; S Negri, A Jurgens Steyn, S Parisse. Wales are on the up, Italy are fighting for their lives.

Scrum-half Aled Davies launched a break from a scrum down the right with Liam Williams setting up Adams for a try which Biggar converted.

We didn't really get out of jail.

"It wasn't a great performance today but sometimes you have to win ugly", said Gatland. We weren't as accurate as we could (be).

"For us, there's a bigger picture that we were looking at for the first two games", Gatland told a news conference.

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That Wales finished with its fewest points and tries in Rome in six years didn't worry Gatland, who was far more satisfied with starting the championship with two wins away from home before returning to Cardiff to face title rival England in two weeks.

We're two from two and we have a couple of weeks of training before England and this sets us up nicely for that match.

But he warned, "If we play like that against England it could be embarrassing".

Gatland added: "It is a great opportunity for Jon (Davies) as captain".

"I can't fault the boys' effort", he said.

Josh Adams and Owen Watkin scored a pair of tries after the break but there were too many errors to push for a bonus-point win.

Italy coach Conor O'Shea, who ushered in a new brand of attacking rugby when he took over in 2016, could come under growing pressure to reconsider his tactics.

Italy players celebrate after Italy's Abraham Steyn scores a try during the Six Nations rugby union global between Italy and Wales, at Rome's Olympic Stadium, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019.

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