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Warren Gatland celebrates 'a job done' as Wales conquer Italy

12 March 2018

The first half of Wales vs Italy had absolutely everything.

Tries from Hadleigh Parkes and George North got Wales motoring in the first half but an excellent solo effort from Matteo Minozzi who displayed some sublime footwork got the Italians back into the game with a fine try in the corner.

Anscombe added the extras, leaving Wales with the best part of 35 minutes to claim a bonus point score.

Speaking to reporters at Wales's training base on Wednesday, Gatland said North suffered a hip-flexor injury during the 37-27 defeat against Ireland last month and was treated by medical staff before returning to Northampton.

For the next 10 minutes Italy had the better of the match, but were unable to eat further into Wales' lead as a presentable penalty was kicked to the corner rather than the posts, before Tommaso Allan failed to convert a second from longer range. When Wales have taken a scalpel to selection in the past its edge has been blunt and they have not taken comfort in the performances, such as against Georgia last November or Japan a year before. "It's what we wanted".

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The Wales coach saw his decision to make 10 changes to his starting side rewarded with a 38-14 bonus-point win over Italy in Cardiff on Sunday.

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

The five-try, bonus-point victory at Cardiff's Principality Stadium saw a much-changed Wales go second in the table behind already crowned champions Ireland and another bonus-point success in next week's tournament finale at home to France would assure the Welsh of the runners-up spot.

"That's his second Man of the Match for us and if you look at the other games he has played, it's just how accurate he has been".

Wales was momentarily reduced to 13 men as Gareth Davies joined Williams in the sin bin after an intentional knock-on, but defended stoutly to maintain its lead and took advantage once it was back to full strength.

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"I was disappointed in that if he needed to make the tackle did he need to go that high?" The way the game was we couldn't afford potentially, with that time on the clock, something else to happen and him to get another yellow card then a red and put us under pressure.

"We've come here to play, to show off our rugby".

"We have our destiny in our own hands next week."

Gatland said replacing Williams "was about sending a subtle message really".

But defiant Italy coach Conor O'Shea said: "I am not here for me, I am here for Italian rugby".

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"If you go around the clubs, see the under-20s beating Wales, and look at the players coming through, we are building a team and we are building a system piece by piece".

Warren Gatland celebrates 'a job done' as Wales conquer Italy