Italy were incredible – Wales were left to wallow, as it finished Wales 21-24 Italy.

Italy must wish there was another round of action to play next week. So magnificent were they in Cardiff that they may not have looked back from celebrations to notice that they resigned the home fans to a first Wales Wooden Spoon in the Six Nations for 21 years.

After an hour the visitors were ahead 18-0 on the scoreboard. And in order to get there they scored one of the great Six Nations tries.

And they also let the hands flow for a first-half score for Monty Ioane.

However, it was their defence that was the real plus point in a dominant showing for the Azzurri.

That man Ioane put in one attack-killing blitz that forced Nick Tompkins to force a spill, for example, while skipper Michelle Lamaro was one of many men in blue to turnover ball in bullying fashion. and around the hour, it looked for all the world like Rio Dyer and Tomos Williams would connect for a score, only for replacement Ross Vintcent to play a pivotal role in an incredible turnover, a shade form the Italian line.

Elliot Dee thought he went over eventually, through a tangle of bodies. It was originally given as no-try by referee Mathieu Raynal, but TMO Joy Neville was happy with replay footage that Dee – who looked to be short, and then dragged over the line by the defending side – had scored the try.

There had been a lot of frustration before this point, but was there now enough time to save the fixture?

Italy refocussed. The pressure on Welsh players was continually unsettling for the hosts. Wing Louis Lynagh almost got an interception with acres in front, and the errors for the men in red flowed. Martin Page-Relo slotted one long-range penalty to make it 24-7 to Italy’s advantage.

Wales huffed and puffed, and Will Rowlands eventually squeezed through for a closing try and then Mason Grady galloped through for a final consolation score. But it mattered little as the third home score made it 21-24. The Azzurri had done it.

With two wins and a draw (that was an inch or two from being a victory), Italy deserve all of the coverage for their displays in the 2024 championship.

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