Wales up to second in Six Nations standings after brushing aside Italy

Wales v Georgia – Autumn International – Principality Stadium

Rob Howley says Wales wing George North has been “brilliant” in training

Warren Gatland made 10 alterations for the visit of winless Italy after back-to-back defeats to England and champions Ireland, and North's display helped ensure Wales avoided a third straight loss - which would have been the first time they had suffered that fate in the competition since 2006.

But instead, Wales will kick off knowing another bonus-point win over Les Bleus will assure them of the runners-up spot behind Ireland, who have already clinched the title.

"I would like to think we could win quite comfortably", says the Wales centre Owen Watkin, who will make his first start in the Six Nations, one of 10 personnel changes from the last-round defeat in Dublin.

"But that's probably to be expected when guys have not played together".

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

A yellow card for Wales either side of halftime perhaps prevented an even greater margin of victory, but Gatland now has tough choices to make ahead of next week's tournament finale against France, which could decide second place.

Anscombe made no such mistake minutes later as he made it 17-7, but halftime was made less comfortable for the home team when Liam Williams was shown a yellow card just before the break for a high tackle on Minnozi.

Spurs star likely to return on Thursday
The injury continued to bother him, and he played just nine games before returning to the sideline and stepping away from the team.

"I am happy we are seeing progress but I am desperate to win because that is what you are judged on", he said.

It took just four minutes for Wales to get off the mark as Parkes bounced off a poor tackle from Tommaso Castello, who consequently went off for a head injury assessment, to dot down behind the posts.

We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website and bring you more relevant advertising. 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.

This latest reverse meant Italy had now lost 16 successive Championship matches.

Italy will equal that unwanted record if they are beaten by Scotland in Rome on Saturday.

Wales' Liam Williams, left, and Italy's Dean Budd challenge for the ball during the Six Nations rugby union match between Wales and Italy at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Sunday, March 11, 2018.

"We are doing a heck of a lot, we will fight every battle and improve every week", he said. 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.

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