North brace against Italy helps lift Wales to second

Italy v Wales – RBS 6 Nations – Stadio Olimpico

The home side got off to a blistering start through tries from Hadleigh Parkes and George North in the opening seven minutes but Italy responded nearly immediately through Matteo Minozzi.

ITALY: M Minozzi (Zebre); T Benvenuti (Benetton), G Bisegni (Zebre), T Castello (Zebre), M Bellini (Zebre); T Allan (Benetton), M Violi (Zebre); A Lovotti (Zebre), L Ghiraldini (Toulouse), S Ferrari (Benetton), A Zanni (Benetton), D Budd (Benetton), S Negri (Benetton), M Mbanda (Zebre), S Parisse (Stade Francais, capt).

Gatland admitted Wales must now wait to see if there will be any action against Williams ahead of the France game.

"It's job done", Gatland said.

"To make 10 changes, score the points we did, and win comfortably was the pleasing aspect".

"Some elements of the game were frustrating and we'll go away and work on that".

Warren Gatland's side finish their championship at home to France next Saturday, while Italy entertain Scotland.

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Wales made a flying start as Parkes took advantage of some dismal Italian tackling to touch down under the posts after just four minutes.

26/2/17 Italy head coach Conor O'Shea during the warm up before the game Reuters / Toby Melville Livepic.

George North scored two tries as a much-changed Wales side returned to winning ways with a 38-14 bonus-point victory over Italy at the Principality Stadium to move up to second in the Six Nations standings on Sunday. His pass found North, who finished off his 31st Test match touchdown, with Gareth Anscombe adding both conversions.

Italy bounced back nearly immediately after their early double setback with the excellent fullback Matteo Minozzi crossing for his third try of the Championship. The full back received the ball on the wing before evading three Welsh defenders with some silky footwork to go over in the corner. For all their possession and territory, Italy failed to add any points.

Liam Williams was shown a yellow card just before the break for a high tackle on opposing fullback Matteo Minozzi, while scrum-half Gareth Davies followed him into the sin-bin soon after the interval for a deliberate knock-on.

Yet, the Dragons were generally impressive despite going down to XIV men when Liam Williams was yellow carded - and the full-back was probably lucky it wasn't a red. "We had no problems with the yellow card", Gatland said.

Wales have beaten Italy 11 times in succession, including a 2015 World Cup warm-up game, with their last Six Nations loss to the Azzurri being back in 2007.

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