NatWest 6 Nations Flashbacks: Wales v Italy

Round four of this year’s NatWest 6 Nations sees Italy head to Cardiff to take on Wales on Sunday.

Round four of this year’s NatWest 6 Nations sees Italy head to Cardiff to take on Wales on Sunday.

The Italians are still chasing their first win of this year’s Championship and they will not find it easy at Principality Stadium.

Click here for the complete 2018 NatWest 6 Nations fixtures and table

Only England have won in the Welsh capital in the last four Championships but the history books might give the Azzurri some confidence.   2006 – Wales 18-18 Italy   Back in 2006, the Italians came within a whisker of sealing their first-every away victory in the Championship.

In the end, they had to settle for a first away point in Cardiff but it could have been so much more.

In the early stages, it looked like business as usual for the hosts as Mark Jones and Stephen Jones both went over for tries.

But it was a disappointing campaign for Wales, a year on from their Grand Slam heroics, and they allowed the Italians back into the contest.

Full-back Ezio Galon went over before Pablo Canavosio burst clear after an interception and the scores were level at 15-15.

A Ramiro Pez penalty in the second half put the Azzurri in front but it was a disappointing day from the tee in general for Pez, who missed four other kicks at goal.

Cristian Stoica also failed with a drop goal and Stephen Jones held his nerve to level up matters and ensure the shares were spoiled.   2014 – Wales 23-15 Italy   In more recent history, Italy also gave Wales a real run for their money in the 2014 Championship.

In the tournament opener, the defending champions Wales were unconvincing victors thanks to tries from Alex Cuthbert and Scott Williams.

But the real star of the show was centre Michele Campagnaro, who ran in a superb double and caused the Welsh defence problems all game long.

Traditionally slow starters, Wales lost their opener to Ireland the year before – the boot of Leigh Halfpenny proved enough in the end to keep the Azzurri at bay.

But after their heroics in taking the title from England in 2013, the writing was on the wall for Gatland and his side, who ended up third this year, falling to defeats to both Ireland and England.

Italy, meanwhile, were left to rue what might have been in a winless campaign that saw them denied victory in Rome against Scotland by a last-gasp Duncan Weir drop goal.   2016 – Wales 67-14 Italy   While the previous two flashbacks are cause for optimism for Italy, their most recent visit is a cautionary tale.

Italy arrived in Cardiff for the final round of games in the 2016 Championship and were taught a lesson by Gatland’s side as they claimed second in the table behind Grand Slam winners England.

Wales scored nine tries on their way to their biggest points total in a Championship game in Cardiff.

Dan Biggar finished with a  21-point haul, Ross Moriarty climbed off the bench to bag a second-half double, while man of the match George North was sublime.

The winger made 143m with ball in hand and crossed for a try – taking his total for that year’s Championship to four as a result, the sole consolations for Italy being tries for Guglielmo Palazzani and Gonzalo Garcia.

Wales won by a record margin of 53 points against the Italians, beating the 41-point mark set last year in Rome.