Holmes handed Six Nations start in Rome

Jonathan Davies will captain Wales for the first time after the centre was named as skipper by coach Warren Gatland for Saturday's Six Nations match away to Italy in Rome.

"We lost a couple of opportunities in the second half, but the team was still fighting and scored a try in the end". Wing George North was able to score two of the five tries that Wales got.

Italy have beaten Wales at home on two occasions in the Six Nations. Wales are on the up, Italy are fighting for their lives.

Gatland said: "We have made a number of changes this weekend, but have picked what we think is a very exciting team that still has huge experience throughout it".

WALES - L Williams; J Holmes, J Davies (capt), O Watkin, J Adams; D Biggar, A Davies; N Smith, E Dee, S Lee; J Ball, A Beard; A Wainwright, T Young, J Navidi.

Italy responded with an Allan break teeing up Padovani's touchdown.

You're not always brilliant and we weren't today.

"We got out of jail". We weren't as accurate as we could. We didn't play that well but we'll take a win and move on and start thinking about England.

"We were looking at the bigger picture, we wanted to everyone an opportunity to be involved in the first two games", the New Zealander said.

Gatland's side went top of the Six Nations table after away wins against France and Italy and next play England, who last week bumped Wales from third in the world rankings, in Cardiff on February 23. Probably part of that is that we didn't have the continuity that we would have if we hadn't made so many changes.

Stand-in captain Jonathan Davies was frustrated. But we came to a hard place to play rugby and got the result. That was down to the number of changes we made to the side.

Italy coach Conor O'Shea, who ushered in a new brand of attacking rugby when he took over in 2016, could come under growing pressure to reconsider his tactics. It sets us up nicely for the England match.

But a comfortable win at Stadio Olimpico was on the cards as Dan Biggar kicked Wales to a 12-point lead in the first half hour.

Ireland, beaten by England in the opening game last weekend, added a third try after the break as replacement flyhalf Joey Carbery sliced through a gap before flinging a wide pass for winger Keith Earls to score.

The first half was a battle of attrition with both sides struggling to make any serious ground with the ball in hand. He nailed a penalty after the break to cut the deficit to two.

Laidlaw, Scotland's captain, expressed frustration with referee Romain Poite in a interview after the final whistle. "We're not going to blame him, though".

Vanessa Coleman

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