Can Ioan Cunningham's side secure third place with a win over the Azzurre?
Women’s Six Nations Wales v Italy Preview
With England and France dominant in the competition, third place is the ‘best of the rest’ and if Wales can end the campaign there it will be their best finish since 2009, when they came in second.
Ireland are Wales’ main threat for the spot. If the Irish beat Scotland with a bonus point and Wales lose without a bonus point they will be equal on points. It would then come down to the points difference, which at the moment goes in Wales’ favour. Still, if Wales beat or draw with the Azzurre, or even just secure a losing bonus point, third place will be theirs regardless of what Ireland do.
The hosts on Saturday are the favourites despite Italy bagging their first win in the last round. They defeated Scotland to move off of the bottom of the table.
It’s been a frustrating tournament for Italy. They have shown moments of brilliance but the cohesion has been lacking. They will hope the winning momentum will give them the edge over Wales, who come into the game following back-to-back defeats.
But what changes have the coaches made to the teams and how can fans watch? Here’s all you need to know in our Women’s Six Nations Wales v Italy preview.
What have the coaches said?
Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham: “Italy are a quality team and we need to be 100% ready mentally as well as physically.
“We want to finish with three wins, that is what this group deserves having worked so hard all season.”
Italy head coach Andrea Di Giandomenico: “We are aware of the need to raise our level in attack and in the last week that is what we have focused on.
“We want to end the Six Nations on a high to continue our preparation in the best possible way for the World Cup.”
What’s the big team news?
Italy have made three changes to their starting line-up as scrum-half Sara Barratin comes back into the side.
Silvia Turani comes into the front row with Melissa Bettoni moving to hooker and Elisa Giordano starts at No 8 with Ilaria Arrighetti shifting to flanker. On the bench, Francesca Granzotto could win her first cap if called upon.
Wales, meanwhile, have made eight changes to their starting XV. Niamh Terry, Kerin Lake and Ffion Lewis come into the backs with Robyn Wilkins moving from centre to fly-half.
There’s a completely new front row as Cara Hope, Kelsey Jones and Donna Rose start. Alex Callender starts at flanker with Sioned Harries at No 8, meaning captain Siwan Lillicrap moves to lock.
What time is kick-off and is it on TV?
The match will kick-off at 12pm BST on Saturday 30 April at Cardiff Arms Park. Tickets are available via the Cardiff Rugby ticketing homepage.
The fixture will be available to watch on S4C and BBC iPlayer in the UK. For more information on how to watch the match from elsewhere in the world see our Women’s Six Nations live stream guide.
Amber McLachlan will referee the match and she will be assisted by Aurélie Groizeleau and Maria Latos. The TMO (television match official) is Claire Hodnett.
What are the line-ups?
Wales: Niamh Terry; Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Kerin Lake, Jasmine Joyce; Robyn Wilkins, Ffion Lewis; Cara Hope, Kelsey Jones, Donna Rose, Siwan Lillicrap, Gwen Crabb, Alisha Butchers, Alex Callender, Sioned Harries.
Replacements: Carys Phillips, Caryl Thomas, Cerys Hale, Natalia John, Bethan Lewis, Keira Bevan, Lleucu George, Kayleigh Powell.
Italy: Manuela Furlan (captain); Aura Muzzo, Michela Sillari, Beatrice Rigoni, Maria Magatti; Veronica Madia, Sara Barratin; Silvia Turani, Melissa Bettoni, Lucia Gai, Valeria Fedrighi, Giordana Duca, Beatrice Veronese, Ilaria Arrighetti, Elisa Giordano.
Replacements: Vittoria Vecchini, Gaia Maris, Sara Seye, Sara Tounesi, Isabella Locatelli, Francesca Granzotto, Alyssa D’Incà, Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi.
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