Six Nations 2023: Italy 17:29 Wales – Warren Gatland says his side deserved victory in Rome

Ken Owens from Wales meets Sebastian Negri from Italy
Ken Owens led Wales to their first win of his captaincy after three Six Nations defeats
Venue: Stade de France, Paris Date: Saturday March 18th Begin: 14:45 GMT
Cover: Live on S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website & app; Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Warren Gatland believes Wales deserved their Six Nations bonus win over Italy in Rome.

Gatland celebrated the first win of his second stint as Welsh boss with a 29-17 win at the Stadio Olimpico to move them from bottom of the table.

“There are still some things we need to work on but I think we deserved to win the game,” said Gatland.

“It was against a team that is improving, they are the most athletic Italian side we have faced.”

Scrum half Rhys Webb was man-of-the-match in his first Six Nations start in six years.

Webb tried wing Rio Dyer and number eight Taulupe Faletau before being lifted off after 54 minutes.

“I found he was excellent at making decisions, controlling the game and kicking well,” added Gatland.

“He hasn’t played at this level for a while, so we’ve always thought about when we need to change something about his legs and stuff.

“I thought his contribution was excellent and his decision making of not trying to force things was outstanding.

“When that opportunity came up, he went through the gap and chose Faletau to try and he made the right choice.”

Gatland admitted Wales had benefited from being able to focus on matters on the field during a troubled Six Nations campaign.

“I think it’s going to be huge for confidence going forward,” Gatland said.

“In this team a lot grows with some of the young players so they will learn from that and be better for it.

“I thought our scramble defense and how the guys came back and worked hard for each other today was one of the biggest highlights.

“The beauty of the last two weeks has been that, for the first time, we’ve been able to actually focus on rugby with no other issues brewing behind the scenes.

“It definitely changed this group. We talked before the game about how we want to play, but also about being brave and taking those opportunities and moving the ball.”

Wales travel to Nice for a training camp before their return to Nice on Saturday 18th June. who hammered England 53-10 at Twickenham.

Toulon’s fly-half Dan Biggar missed the Italy game with a back injury. but should be suitable for selection for the Stade de France game.

Back-up hooker Scott Baldwin is unlikely to be available after suffering a chest injury.

Gatland will be hoping full-backs Liam Williams (shoulder) and Josh Adams (knee) will demonstrate their fitness following their second-half exits in Rome.

“Wales beat us with box kicks”

Meanwhile, Italy manager Kieran Crowley has slammed Wales’ style of play compared to what he believes is the more expansive game plan he has adopted with his team.

“Well done for the win. Wales beat us with box kicks today,” said Crowley.

“They beat us in the air game. I know what kind of game I would rather play.

“I’m not going to wonder. Italy are where they are because they’ve played for the last 10 years.

“If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll always be in the same place.

“The boys bought into what we are trying to do. There are risks, and the risk has cost us. We’re still working on how to get that balance right.

Crowley was also unhappy with the officers’ interpretation after trying to speak to them at halftime.

“I couldn’t believe we didn’t get a penalty try in the first half,” added Crowley.

“It’s very clear a tackle was made, so there’s a tackle line and their 10 (Owen Williams) attacked Brex (Italy Central).

“Why they couldn’t make the right decision, I don’t know. There was a bit of frustration.

“If a penalty attempt is awarded it’s 15-10 and the game changes. I also don’t know how a team squanders 17 penalties, five of them on the line and they don’t get a booking. Anyway, we’ll continue. “

However, Crowley admitted Italy were guilty of poor execution after creating chances.

“Our execution wasn’t good enough and we let ourselves down in that area, which we need to look at,” Crowley said.

“We prepared well, we were in a good space and it just didn’t go our way.”

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