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Wales Flatter To Decieve

Posted Mar 02, 2011 by Shaun Edwards

Wales looked below their best

After their previous losing streak, you can feel some sympathy for the Welsh fans that have been somewhat over-celebrating a ground out away victory over a weak Italian team who seem equally as pleased that they didn’t repeat their capitulation of the heavy defeat against England two weeks ago.   However, this rather self-congratulatory back-patting does little to detract from the fact that the fixture between the two was a very poor match-up.

Wales were not completely awful and did still seem able to offer up little hints of natural class here and there, but they made far too many mistakes in both their decision making and general play, conceding numerous penalties that a more technically efficient side than Italy would have taken full advantage of.

It’s also an unfortunate fact that Italy’s two tries were gifted to them by the Welsh simply due to their own attempts to show off whilst in their own half.  Both Bradley Davies and a Stephen Jones/Shane Williams mix-ups gave Italy the chance to prevent Wales from running away with the game.  The fact that the Italians spurned at least 10 potential kicking points shows just what the result would have been had Warren Gatland’s team been facing a stronger side.

Following a questionable performance, Wales will have a lot to think about in the lead up to their fixture against Ireland at the Millennium stadium next Saturday, not least as to whether Hook will indeed return in the fly-half role he undertook here after the announcement that Jonathan Davies is likely to be fit once again following the tweak of his hamstring during the match against Scotland.

Gatland, for his part, is still hedging his bets, noting that whilst Davies ‘could have played today’, the Welsh decided that it wasn’t worth risking the fly-half ahead of more important fixtures later on in the tournament.  Whatever decisions they make, it’s important that the Welsh don’t get carried away with what was a very average performance here, even if they did get the points.

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