15. Leigh Halfpenny – 7
Not quite as assured as usual – the odd fumble and a charged-down clearance compounded an uncharacteristic miss from the tee – but Halfpenny has earned the right to be judged by stratospheric standards. He remains simply vital to Wales, as some brave covering and a 45-metre penalty that made it 19-9 confirmed.
14. Alex Cuthbert – 7
Took his try well, chased manically and defended with admirable enthusiasm. One spot-hit on Martin Castrogiovanni early on pre-empted a straightforward turnover for Gethin Jenkins and there was even evidence of a kicking game. Would have had a brace but for Gonzalo Canale’s superb ankle-tap.
13. Jonathan Davies – 6
Did not touch the ball until the 44th minute, when persistence paid off with a ninth Test try. A dummy run that drew would-be Italian tacklers made him an unsung architect for Cuthbert’s score as well, while some under-the-radar defence would have been appreciated by his colleagues.
12. Jamie Roberts – 5
Endured a pretty abject game in attack, completing just one kick, one pass and one carry (when he didn’t drop the pill). While he coped well with midfield traffic, Roberts should be offering far more.
11. George North – 6
Set the tone for a selfless, grafting shift from the very first kick-off, tearing up the touchline to make a brawny challenge. From there, he lived off scraps and was as a pillar of dependability.
10. Dan Biggar – 6½
Flashes of footballing ability were consigned to counter-attacks in the first-half as he covered nicely from further back. Looked dangerous on the gain-line and will need to push that facet of his game – as well as eradicate teething problems such as one missed touch-kick – against Scotland.
9. Mike Phillips – 5
Kicking game was under the microscope given the significance of territory in the rain and, over-hitting the majority of his efforts beyond the box, Phillips flunked the assignment. The dink that set up Davies was more lucky than well-judged as the scrum half failed to build on a resurgent showing in Paris.
1. Gethin Jenkins – 7½
Two lapses aside, the returning Cardiff Blue added much-needed stability at the set-piece to a typically productive afternoon in the loose. A pair of pilfers on the deck and a charge-down on Edoardo Gori were all perfectly executed. It was a shame he exited early.
2. Richard Hibbard – 6
Uncertain throwing stunted the lineout as an attacking base early on, but a good, low tackle that forced Andrea Masi to cough up in the first half epitomised his effort thereafter.
3. Adam Jones – 8
Back to his dominant best, this terrific tighthead must have needed the first couple of ties in this tournament to warm up. Jones ensured that Andrea Lo Cicero’s 101st cap was a tale of misery by cleaving his opposite number at will.
4. Andrew Coombs – 7
An elementary handling error was an extremely rare blemish during another decent outing for the red-headed lock, who was the go-to lineout option and adopted the Dan Lydiate role in terms of setting line-speed. Even so, Coombs will probably be replaced by Alun Wyn Jones at Murrayfield.
5. Ian Evans – 6½
Maintained a happy habit of being a nuisance all over the park, counter-rucking to good effect and stifling the Azzurri around the fringes where they are at their most effective. His boiler-room ballast helped the scrum as well.
6. Ryan Jones – 7
Top tackler on either side with 16, the talismanic skipper retained enough energy for a burst that forced Wales’ final penalty just before he was replaced. He obviously calmed his troops as the hosts pressed before half-time and still has a role within this set-up.
7. Justin Tipuric – 6
It was rather tough to gauge how well Tipuric did. The Osprey does not seem to be brawny enough to sway breakdown matters. Neither was there much in the way of link play, although that wasn’t easy amid a downpour. That said, 15 tackles was a commendable return and Sam Warburton will not have his berth gift-wrapped.
8. Toby Faletau – 7
Willingness to carry was crucial in such sodden conditions and his skills at the base of the scrum were needed on the odd occasion that it got messy. Unfussy but essential to an imperative win.
Largely encouraging here – Paul James and Ken Owens enhanced respective reputations, while Alun Wyn Jones and Sam Warburton demonstrated their hunger to be involved in a fortnight’s time. On the other hand, Lloyd Williams and James Hook will be irked at an inability to state a serious case for selection.
By Charlie Morgan