Wales v Italy: Wales player ratings

north italy

15. Leigh Halfpenny: 6.5
Halfpenny was characteristically reliable with the boot and kicked the vital points. He was well positioned throughout but he very rarely looked to counterattack and mostly opted to just kick it straight back. He also gifted the Italian’s their second try when his loose pass was intercepted by Michele Campagnaro.

14. Alex Cuthbert: 6.5
Plenty of pace and perseverance saw the Welsh flyer gleefully accept an early try, gifted to him by debutant Leonardo Sarto. We saw glimpses of the Cuthbert’s scintillating pace and footwork, but he hardly ever left his wing and the Azzurri kept him fairly anonymous after the opening try.

13 Scott Williams: 7
Cut some deft lines and looked dangerous with the ball in hand early on. He took his try well and his partnership with Roberts is looking promising. But he was undoubtedly overshadowed by his opposite man.

12. Jamie Roberts: 8
He will be very pleased to get 80 minutes of injury-free rugby under his belt. Dr Roberts regularly ventured over the gain line with zeal and determination and troubled the Italians throughout with his abrasive running. Set up Williams for Wales first try after a powerful burst.

11. George North: 5.5
When North steam rolled Alberto Sgarbi in the second minute with his first touch, it seemed like a statement of intent. But while the winger was kept busy by the Italian kicking, he was kept quiet by their kick defence. He struggled to impose himself on this game and after two first-half gallops, he rarely got going.

10. Rhys Priestland: 6.5
He kicked well out of hand and probed the Italian defence with some jinking runs. But Priestland struggled to get his backline moving with much fluidity, in the face of an aggressive Italian defence.

9. Mike Philips: 6
You would have expected Philips to thrive in a tightly-fought muscular affair such as this. But the scrumhalf looked lethargic and rarely troubled the Italian fringe defence. He distributed well but did not always seem to be on the same wavelength as his fly half.

1. Paul James: 6
The Bath prop got turned inside out by Martin Castrogiovanni’s mischief early on and concede two penalties at scrum time before the referee clocked on to the Italian’s antics. But James still struggled at the set piece throughout. However, he carried well and tackled vigorously.

2. Richard Hibbard: 8.5
Confronted the Azzurri advance head on. Tackled everything in a blue shirt and carried with malicious intent. His relentless aggression and energy proved vital to the Welsh cause, especially when their intensity seemed to fall away.

3. Adam Jones: 5
He failed to answer the questions surrounding his fitness and his adaptation to the new scrummaging laws. It was a jaded performance from the veteran prop, who struggled against the power of Michele Rizzo.

4. Luke Charteris: 5.5
He looked lively and showed plenty of willingness to carry, but to little effect. The Welsh giant failed to impose himself at the lineout and his messy tap downs made life extremely hard for Philips.

5. Alun Wyn Jones: 7.5
Looked sharp and dynamic on his ascent to the summit of the Welsh lineout. Ground out some much-needed hard yards with 15 forceful carries. Never stopped working, but did not advance with his usual blistering line speed in defence, a possible sign of fatigue.

6. Dan Lydiate: 7
He topped the tackle count with 12 characteristic chop tackles, cutting down the big Italian runners behind the gain line and ground out some hard yards with several powerful carries.

7. Justin Tipuric: 7
Tipuric was solid at the back of an otherwise shaky Welsh lineout. He was tenacious in defence and looked a lot sprightlier than the bulk of the Welsh pack. The flanker toiled at the breakdown but to little effect and rarely took the ball in hand.

8. Toby Faletau: 8
Immense at the breakdown and proved to be one of the only Welsh players to disrupt Italian breakdown ball amidst some ferocious rucking. Carried with intent but never really got into his stride with the ball in hand and he was caged by his opposite man.

Replacements: 8
Andrew Coombs contributed with an industrious defensive display. Rhodri Jones looked good when he came on. Sam Warburton looked energetic and will have been glad to get some game time. Ken Owens was immense after being introduced with some big tackles and powerful surges. Rhys Webb looked lively, probing the Italian defence with some sharp darts and raised the tempo after he replaced Philips.

By Nathan Hyde (@NathanHyde2)

3 thoughts on “Wales v Italy: Wales player ratings

  1. Cannot fault the Italians as it is clear that they came with a game plan and I would hazard a guess that this was a match that they had targeted as an away win, and they were close. Very disappointed with the inability of the welsh team to change and adapt to what was the clear intent of the Italian team. However what really got my goat was the error by the referee, the linesman and the TMO to ping what was clearly a forward pass. Cannot fault the Italians they played the ref and apart from the forward pass, great try, well taken. Now having watched all the opening fixtures I see the last game as being the decider, Ireland or France for the Six Nations with Wales and England fighting it out for third.

    On the players rating far too generous a score for Philips, 3 at Best; and Tipuric no more than a 5, ineffectual at defensive/offensive rucks and mauls.

  2. Personally thought Priestland had one of his better games for Wales, and Lydiate is finally deserving his place again after 12 months of living on his reputation.

Comments are closed.