Italy v Wales RBS Six Nations Betting Odds, Tips and Preview
February 25, 2011 | In: Articles
Wales will be looking to pick up their second consecutive victory as they take on Italy in Rome in this weekend’s RBS Six Nations. The Welsh, to their great credit, put in a decent performance up in Murrayfield, to defeat the Scots. It’s not that the Welsh were great by any means, they simply made less errors than the wayward Scottish, and had just a little more conviction in going forward. Wales, after losing their opening match in this year’s competition to England in Cardiff, will be happy with that rebound result and will now look to consolidate it with victory over wooden spoon candidates, Italy. There has been a little shuffle in the line up, with Stephen Jones, the epitome of control at Number 10, comes back into the side, as James Hook moves to centre. Coach Warren Gatland doesn’t quite seem to know what the best line up for Wales is in midfield at the moment, but the victory over Scotland, at least ended a run of eight straight international test match defeats. Wales still are not at full strength, with Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins missing out from the forwards, and winger George North has pulled out because of an injury. Fortunately Gatland can use the versatility of James Hook to at least give some dynamics to the back. Hook is a player who can change a game, but often doesn’t fulfill his role as the spark of inspiration for his country.
Wales, along with Scotland, are the only two sides to lose in Six Nations history to Italy, and this is a potential banana skin, to put it in Gatland’s own words. Italy ran Wales close in a 15-20 defeat when the two sides last met in Rome, but the previous encounter on Italian turf, produced a famous 23-20 victory for the Italians. Wales would have seen Italy give Ireland a torrid time on the opening weekend, and were in touching distance of beating the Irish, until a late drop goal from Ronan O’Gara crushed their hopes. It doesn’t make reading in the copy books for Italy, as they have won just two of the seventeen matches between the two nations. That leaves Wales with fourteen victories and a tie. The points difference is often telling when reading into stats, and Wales average 33 points per match against Italy, while the Italians average just under 18 points. That’s a massive 15 points between the two sides on average. Italy though are heading in the right direction, despite being mauled by England at Twickenham. Back in front of their home crowd, they should find stopping Wales playing will be a lot easier than trying to stop England playing at Twickers. The Bookies rightly have Wales penciled in as favourites, and that should play out on the day. Wales have a little more adventure, a little more pace, and even though they may get bullied a bit up front by the superior Italian front line, they’ll create enough to get the job done.