x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Italy make Wales work hard for win

Wales' coach Warren Gatland focuses on the positives despite his team's unconvincing performance in their triumph over Italy in the Six Nations.

Shanklin, right, scored the late try for Wales that saw them overtake Italy in Rome.
Shanklin, right, scored the late try for Wales that saw them overtake Italy in Rome.

Wales coach Warren Gatland preferred to focus on the positives despite his team's unconvincing performance in their 20-15 triumph over Italy in the Six Nations. The home side went into the game as huge underdogs following their opening three defeats in the competition, but made Wales work hard for the triumph. The hosts led 15-13 before the Wales substitute Tom Shanklin touched down eight minutes from time to send Wales on their way to their third victory of the tournament. "When you are behind you go through certain scenarios in your head," said Gatland. "But a few questions were answered. I'm just happy we came out and we scored two tries and we go home with the win. "We are still playing for the Triple Crown." Gatland defended his decision to make wholesale changes to the team that lost 21-16 to France in Paris a fortnight ago but admitted his players struggled to adapt in the opening half. "A few players hadn't played for a while together," he said. "There were lots of changes and different combinations. "But for me it's great to be able to have the opportunity to make changes in a tournament game and to see where we are. "We talked about trying to develop some depth in the squad and that is what we are doing. "We have three wins from four games and I think we have shown some consistency in terms of results." Italy's coach Nick Mallett had mixed emotions after the game. "I'm very proud of how my team played," he said. "For the first time my team stuck to what we practised. "It was a very good performance but I am very disappointed that having been so close we gave away a 72nd minute try. "I think I can summarise it with two words, pride but disappointment."

* PA Sport