x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Wales finish on a high note

Wales cruise to a convincing 33-10 Six Nations victory over Italy at the Millennium Stadium to end their spluttering campaign on a winning note.

Wales cruised to a convincing 33-10 Six Nations victory over Italy at the Millennium Stadium yesterday to end their spluttering campaign on a winning note. James Hook crossed for a second-half brace of tries to ease Wales to only their second win of the championship and lift the pressure on their head coach, Warren Gatland. Wing Shane Williams added a third try while fly-half Stephen Jones scored 18 points, including four penalties and three conversions in a 100 per cent kicking and man-of-the-match performance.

A relieved Gatland said: "I'm pretty pleased, I thought we played some outstanding rugby at times and it was nice to go in at half-time with a lead. "There are still aspects we can work on but I thought it was a very professional performance and we showed potentially what we are capable of when we're not having to chase games. "Our position doesn't reflect our quality, but really we can take on any team in the world on level terms.

"Today we put on a professional performance and showed what we are capable of." The Welsh were forced to be patient against spirited Italian defence and had only four penalties from Jones to show for their first-half domination as they led 12-0 at the break. Hook went over for his first score 12 minutes after half-time and the floodgates opened after that as he went over again and Williams also scored for the home side.

Italy fought to the death and were rewarded for their efforts when full-back Luke McLean touched down for a consolation score. Italian coach Nick Makket said: "I am not at all disappointed with this defeat. "I am very proud of the team. I thought we were fantastic in defence and saved perhaps six to eight tries. gcaygill@thenational.ae