Mark Orders – Momentum to fire Wales to another win
It’s not being overly bold to predict a convincing Wales win.
Italy have missed the most tackles (71) of any side in the 2021 tournament, conceded the most penalites (41), scored the joint-fewest tries, coughed up the most scrum penalties (9), had the most players yellow carded (2) and stolen the fewest line-outs (1).
Apart from that, they’ve been OK.
Wales will be looking for a bonus-point win, then, and they should get it.
In the manner of a so-called second-class side playing a major team in the WRU Cup back in the days of yore, Italy will be competitive early doors and possibly cross the whitewash. But they’ll find it find it hard to sustain their challenge.
France took advantage of their errors and Italy couldn’t handle Antoine Dupont’s invention; England had too much pace out wide; Ireland were able to set in place a platform for Jonathan Sexton to dictate.
Wales should have too much up front for Italy and, like England, they also have gas out wide. Expect them to cut loose in the second-half to set up a Grand Slam tilt against France in Paris. Momentum is the most powerful thing in sport, and Wales have it.
Italy 18-50 Wales
Matt Southcombe – It can’t go wrong, can it?
There is absolutely no reason to believe that Wales will lose this game. Nothing that has happened so far in this championship suggests anything other than a Welsh win.
Feels a little uncomfortable to be so confident, doesn’t it?
When Wales get on a roll in the Six Nations they are very difficult to stop and they’re heading into this one off the back of bonus point victories over Scotland and England.
They’ve named their strongest possible team for Rome so there really are no excuses.
Pivac’s side will be feeling confident, growing in familiarity and that consistency in selection has seen them get better with every performance so far in this campaign.
Varney and Garbisi at half-back are Italy’s big threats but in Biggar and Davies, Wales should have enough experience there to cope with that.
A destructive Welsh midfield and red-hot outside backs should see Wales cut loose, particularly after they weather the predictable early storm.
Italy will always be a challenge up front but the Welsh pack has righted the wrongs of the autumn so far in this campaign. They should be able to deal with their hosts.
There is little to suggest that Italy, who have conceded over 40 points in all three of their matches so far, can trouble Wales and win their first Six Nations match in six years.
It can’t go wrong here, can it?
Italy 15-48 Wales
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Simon Thomas – Only one outcome for me
I’ve been a bit worried about writing this piece.
Let me explain. Before each of Wales’ first three Six Nations matches, I predicted victories for Ireland, Scotland and England.
I was absolutely delighted to be wrong on all three occasions and complete my own version of the Triple Crown.
But here’s the rub. Should I now predict an Italian win for fear of scuppering Wales’ Grand Slam hopes if I go the other way?
It’s a tricky one, but the truth is I’ll just have to take the risk, because I can’t see anything other than a comfortable victory for Wayne Pivac’s men out in Rome.
They are on a roll, they are improving match by match and they are full of confidence.
Pivac has also taken no chances, making just two injury-related changes, and selecting the most-experienced Welsh team of all time, one that boasts a record 979 caps.
For their part, Italy have lost their last 30 Six Nations matches, a wretched run stretching back to 2015.
They play some pretty stuff, but they just can’t sustain a challenge and leak points at an alarming rate – 139 of them in their opening three matches.
So only one outcome for me. A bonus point win for Wales and another step closer to the Slam.
If I get this one wrong as well, I might just head into hiding!
Italy 15-40 Wales
Ben James – Bonus point win is important
Italy have conceded an average of 46 points per game so far in the tournament. They’ve only scored a total of 38 across the three matches.
The numbers don’t make for pretty reading so it’s no surprise that the betting odds are fairly long on an Italian win.
To paraphrase Les Dennis, if Italy win, I’ll give you the money myself.
Wales, on the other hand, are looking to complete that penultimate step in another Grand Slam crusade.
With how the tournament is playing out, a comprehensive win in Rome is pretty important in case another pandemic-shaped spanner is thrown in the works.
Given Wales’ clinical nature so far, they can manage that relatively easy if they get on top early on.
My only issue is Wales’ defence has gone missing for short spells in each of their three matches so far.
Italy 18-45 Wales