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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 22:02 GMT
Italy defeat woeful Wales
Italy 30-22 Wales

Italy won only their second Six Nations game ever when they defeated a dismal Wales side in the Rome sun on Saturday.

Wales centre Leigh Davies
Wales struggled to gain any possession

The Italians, led by playmaker Diego Dominguez, destroyed the Welsh pack and starved Steve Hansen's men of any possession.

Tries from Giampiero De Carli, Carlo Festuccia and Matthew Phillips proved too much for a side who always looked second best.

Tom Shanklin, Steve Williams and Dwayne Peel touched over for the visitors.

But it was never going to be enough against an Italian team who last tasted Six Nations success against Scotland in 2000.

With Wales struggling to get their hands on the ball, John Kirwan's side were unlucky not to surge ahead in only the second minute, thanks to a powerful run by Christian Stoica.

Italy 30
Tries: De Carli; Festuccia; Phillips
Conv: Dominguez 3
Pens: Dominguez 2
Drops: Dominguez 1
Wales 22
Tries: Williams; Shanklin; Peel
Conv: Harris 2
Pens: Harris 1
A last ditch Rhys Williams tackle instead forced a five metre scrum, but Italy were not denied a second time when De Carli charged over for the game's opening score.

Dominguez's kick pushed his side into an early and deserved 7-0 lead.

Relief came quickly for Wales, however, when good work from Gareth Thomas and Shanklin allowed the Northampton second row to run in for his second international try.

With seven minutes on the clock, both sides had scored a point a minute, before Shanklin and Thomas combined again.

A half break by the Bridgend centre gave the Saracens favourite the opportunity to show his considerable pace - and he did not disappoint with a blistering 50 metre run.

This means a lot for Italian rugby and we deserved to win

Italy captain Alessandro Troncon
Harris slotted the extras, before the home side hit back immediately through a short-range try from Festuccia, again converted by Dominguez.

Both fly-halves then swapped penalties before the Stade Francais veteran pushed his side into a slender but ominous half-time lead with a well taken drop goal from in front of the posts.

Wales were dealt a double blow in the second-half as Mefin Davies and lock Williams both left the field.

Italy again started brightly and it was no surprise when they grabbed their third try of the match.

Allesandro Troncon made the most of a loose ball from a Welsh scrum and New Zealand-born Phillips strode over to secure a straightforward seven pointer.

We lost the game up front

Wales coach Steve Hansen
At 27-17 up, the Azzurri began to dictate the game and when Dominguez slotted his second drop goal with just minutes remaining, it dealt a hammer blow to Wales's chances.

A late try from Dwayne Peel cut the deficit to just eight points.

But coach Steve Hansen will have to perform a miracle to avoid anything but embarrassment when they line up against favourites England in Cardiff next week.

Italy: P Vaccari (Calvisano); Mauro Bergamasco (Treviso), C Stoica (Castres/Fra), G Ranieri (Calvisano), D Dallan (Treviso); D Dominguez (Stade Francais/Fra), A Troncon (Treviso, capt); G De Carli (Calvisano), C Festuccia (Gran Parma), R Martinez (Treviso), C Bezzi (Viadana), M Bortolami (Padova), A De Rossi (Calvisano), A Persico (Viadana), M Phillips (Viadana).

Reps: A Moretti (Calvisano), S Perugini (Calvisano), M Giacheri (Rotherham/Eng), S Palmer (Treviso), J Manuel Queirolo (Dax/Fra), R Pez (Rotherham/Eng), Mirco Bergamasco (Padova).

Wales: R Williams (Cardiff); M Jones (Llanelli), T Shanklin (Saracens), L Davies (Llanelli), G Thomas (Bridgend); I Harris (Cardiff), D Peel (Llanelli); I Thomas (Llanelli), M Davies (Pontypridd), B Evans (Swansea), R Sidoli (Pontypridd), S Williams (Northampton), M Owen (Pontypridd), M Williams (Cardiff), C Charvis (Swansea, capt).

Reps: G Williams (Bridgend), G Jenkins (Pontypridd), D Jones (Llanelli), G Thomas (Bath), G Cooper (Bath), C Sweeney (Pontypridd), M Watkins (Llanelli).

Ref: Joel Jutge (France)

Italian No 8 Matthew Phillips
"Italian rugby needed this result"

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