2020 Six Nations Championship – Wales vs Italy Preview & Prediction

THE FACTS

When is Wales vs Italy taking place? Saturday 1st February, 14:15

Where is Wales vs Italy taking place? Principality Stadium

What is the expected weather for Wales vs Italy? 8c and mostly sunny skies

What channel is Wales vs Italy on? BBC 1

Where can I stream Wales vs Italy? Wales vs Italy can be streamed via BBC iPlayer

Where can I get tickets for Wales vs Italy? Fans seeking tickets should visit the ticket section of the official rugby union website for each nation

What was the outcome in the last meeting? Italy 15-26 Wales

THE TEAM NEWS

WALES

  • Wales will begin the defence of their Six Nations crown against Italy having claimed the Grand Slam in last year's tournament with Wayne Pivac set to take charge of his first game in the competition.
  • Scrum-half Rhys Webb was named in Wales' initial 38-man squad after he became eligible to be selected for his country once again but he faces a battle to force his way into the starting XV and will have to settle for a spot on the bench in this game with Tomos Williams preferred.
  • Wales’ preparations for this contest have been hampered by several of their squad carrying injuries but Taulupe Faletau is fit enough to take his place at the back of the pack at number eight but with Jonathan Davies out for the tournament, George North has switched to outside centre with Johnny McNicholl making his debut on the wing.

ITALY

  • Italy will have a new man at the helm for this Six Nations campaign with Franco Smith taking charge in the interim after Conor O'Shea's shock resignation to take up a position with the RFU.
  • There is no place for talismanic number eight Sergio Parisse in Italy's first squad of the tournament and despite fellow veteran Alberto Sgarbi earning a recall to the training squad after a six-year absence from the international scene, he has missed out on selection in the side.
  • The squad features a good mix of youth and experience and two uncapped players will make their debuts with
    Niccolo Cannone in the starting XV whilst Danilo Fischetti will appear from the bench whilst Smith has sprung a surprise by naming fly-half Carlo Canna at inside centre with Tommaso Allan handed the #10 shirt.

THE PREDICTION

Wales did not achieve their ambitions at the Rugby World Cup as they were knocked out by eventual winners South Africa in the semi-finals but will look to atone for that as they aim to defend their Six Nations crown. They have a new man in charge for this campaign with Wayne Pivac set to encourage a more exciting brand of rugby and despite having several injury issues, the hosts should be able to claim a comfortable win in this opening contest.

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