2021 Six Nations Championship – Italy vs Wales Preview & Prediction

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THE FACTS

When is Italy vs Wales taking place? Saturday 13th March, 2021 – 14:15

Where is Italy vs Wales taking place? Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Where can I get tickets for Italy vs Wales? Visit this link for ticket information

What channel is Italy vs Wales on? ITV

Where can I stream Italy vs Wales? Italy vs Wales can be streamed via ITV Player

THE TEAM NEWS

ITALY

  • Italy have managed a try in each of their three Six Nations matches so far this tournament in an improvement on recent seasons but they were still thrashed by Ireland 10-48 in Rome last time out.
  • The Azzurri have almost scored as many points this season (38) after three matches than last season’s 44 after five which is a considerable, if slightly grasping, progression considering the recent improvements of France and Scotland.
  • Head coach Franco Smith may have been targeting this match as a potential upset before the start of the tournament and he makes five changes with Stephen Varney one of those returning to the starting line-up.

Italy: 15 Jacopo Trulla, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Michele Lamaro, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 David Sisi, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 3 Giosuè Zilocchi, 2 Luca Bigi (c), 1 Danilo Fischetti

Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Marco Lazzaroni, 20 Maxime Mbanda, 21 Marcello Violi, 22 Federico Mori, 23 Edoardo Padovani

WALES

  • Wales won an early Triple Crown trophy after their emphatic 40-24 victory over England at the Millennium Stadium last time out, having beaten Ireland and Scotland for their three wins from three so far.
  • Wayne Pivac’s side were able to throw off the shackles of a disappointing Autumn Nations Cup campaign when they met Italy last in the fifth-place play-off match, winning 33-18 in Llanelli.
  • Taulupe Faletau keeps his place as number eight after an inspired man-of-the-match performance against England last time out and Louis Rees-Zammit will be seeking out more tries from the wing as one of the favourites for the tournament top-scorer.


Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 George North, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones

Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Uilisi Halaholo

THE PREDICTION

The sudden revolution under head coach Wayne Pivac has taken everybody by surprise and, even though they were arguably aided by some controversial decisions last time out, Wales looked good for the win against their arch-rivals from the kick-off. This will be a welcome turn off pace for the visitors as they travel to Rome for what should be by any rights a bonus-point victory that knocks England and Ireland out of the title running before they have even played four matches, with France their only remaining threat and Scotland an unlikely dark horse. With the option for rotation throughout the match and the pressure off this could be a relaxed riot in Rome against an Azzurri side who are offensively better these days but still totally outclassed by their five opponents. Their try-scoring this season means they can often get to 10 points on their own so Wales to cover -25 on the road here looks an achievable target they should be able to surpass.

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