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A 48-7 victory over Italy leaves Wales a win from the Grand Slam

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IT was always going to be a tough game for the Italian side, but now it is official, Wales are one win away from the Grand Slam!

Wales scored seven tries through Josh Adams, Taulupe Faletau, Ken Owens (2), George North, Callum Sheedy and Louis Rees-Zammit as they secured a comfortable Six Nations win in Rome.

The unbeaten tournament leaders reeled off a third successive bonus-point victory to increase pressure on their rivals for silverware. Italy meanwhile are staring down the barrel at another Wooden Spoon – they haven’t won a Six Nations match since 2015.

STILL A BIT OF WORK TO DO

The Welsh captain, Alun Wyn Jones, who is just one win away from winning his fourth Six Nations Grand Slam told S4C: “We were pretty clinical, particularly in the first half.

“We’re a tad frustrated with the second half but it’s a case of job done and plenty to work on.

“The excitement I feel every time I pull on this red jersey is insurmountable, so I’m looking forward to getting back to it on Monday and preparing for next weekend.”

Jones added: “It’s job done, but there’s still a bit to work on.”

Another heavy defeat will again raise the inevitable questions about Italy’s position in the Six Nations and whether there should be relegation.

The facts speak for themselves.

Today marked a 31st successive defeat for the Azzurri in the competition, with their last victory coming against Scotland in 2015.

Italy have not managed a home Six Nations win for eight years, with 20 successive losses.

Italy have conceded 187 points and 26 tries in four games this year.

 

Line-ups
Italy: Trulla, Bellini, Brex, Canna, Ioane, Garbisi, Varney; Fischetti, Bigi (capt), Zilocchi, Cannone, Sisi, Negri, Meyer, Lamaro.

Replacements: Fabiani for Ioane (7-18), Lovotti for Fischetti (65) Riccioni for Zilocchi (33), Lazzaroni for Cannone (52), Mbanda for Meyer (26-36), Violi for Varney (63), Mori for Garbisi (54) Padovani for Trulla (44).

Wales: L Williams; Rees-Zammit, North, J Davies, Adams; Biggar, G Davies; W Jones, Owens, Tomas Francis, Hill, AW Jones (capt), Navidi, Tipuric, Faletau.

Replacements: Dee for Owens (54), Carre for W Jones (57), Brown for Francis (45), Ball for AW Jones (54), Wainwright for Faletau (51), L Williams for G Davies (52), Sheedy for Biggar (52), Halaholo for North (46)

Match officials
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Touch judges: Pascal Gauzere (France) & Christophe Ridley (England)

TMO: Tom Foley (England)

MATCH ANALYSIS

Surely it was discipline that was the main problem for Italy.

Mistakes and an incredible ability to give away stupid penalties, as a series of needless errors allowed the visitors to build an insurmountable lead early on.

It all started with Paolo Garbisi sending the ball dead from the kick-off before Luca Bigi infringed at the breakdown. The captain then cynically stopped a Gareth Davies quick tap and was duly yellow carded. Against 14 men, Wales built up an advantage they would not relinquish as the visitors won the game before it had really started. It was not a good example from the skipper and is symptomatic of where the Italians are currently at.

Arguably since before the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour, the back has struggled for form, leading many to question whether that was it for the Welsh centurion. Although he is only 28, it must be remembered that North has been around at the top level for a long time and there is only so much the body can take in modern day rugby. However, the move into the midfield seems to have given him a new lease of life.

To the surprise of many, Callum Sheedy did not start against Italy after his superb performance versus England. Instead, it was the much criticised Dan Biggar who continued at fly-half and produced a significantly improved display before giving way to the Bristol playmaker in the second period. Sheedy was also excellent when he came on and it leaves Wayne Pivac with a decision to make going forward. No doubt, Biggar will start next week against France – albeit the head coach is not afraid of making a big call – but the 25-year-old is certainly not far off the first XV.

Much has been said and written about the Azzurri’s continued presence in the Six Nations and based on the evidence in this fixture, they really shouldn’t be playing in a competition of this stature. Franco Smith’s charges were never at the races with Wales racing into a 22-0 lead midway through the half without really breaking a sweat. Italy hardly threatened on attack – especially during the first half – and it looked like it was a case of men against boys for large periods of this Test. The result means they have now lost 31 matches on the trot, which is the longest losing streak in the history of the Championship, and they last tasted victory in a Round Three clash against Scotland in 2015. The time is now ripe for tournament organisers to reconsider their participation.

Although Italy were never in this encounter, Wales deserve plenty of credit as they impressed for the entire game and made full use of the opportunities which were presented to them.

Pivac will be delighted with the clinical fashion with which his players went about their business and they had their bonus point in the bag by the half-hour mark after Josh Adams, Taulupe Faletau and Ken Owens (2) crossed for tries. Despite leading 27-0 at the interval, Wales did not take their foot of the pedal with North also crossing the whitewash soon after the restart and although Monty Ioane scored a try for the hosts, that was a mere blip as Wales continued to dominate and sealed their win with five-pointers from Sheedy and Louis Rees-Zammit.

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Phillips takes a hat trick as Cresselly seal Alec Colley final spot

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CRESSELLY are through to the final of the Alec Colley Cup after beating Hook on Wednesday night (July 21) at Narberth Cricket Club.

Chris Phillips took a hat trick for Cresselly as they restricted Hook to 133-8 in their innings before going to pass their target for the loss of only one wicket.

Hook won the toss and batted first on another warm evening and openers Jamie Phelps and George James shared 37 runs for the first wicket.

Phelps scored 18 but he was then caught and bowled as Phillips picked up the first of his four wickets.

James hit five fours and six in his score of 33 but Phillips had him caught by Scott Arthur.

Phillips then removed Brennan Martin with the next ball before bowling Oscar Willington to claim his hat trick.

It left Hook reeling on 64-4 but scores of 32 from Liam Miller and 21 from Will Goronwy rescued Hook.

Matthew Lewis claimed the wicket of Miller and he later bowled Andrew Thomas to finish with figures of 2-29.

There was also two wickets for Corey Lewis but it was Phillips’ figures of 4-33 that stood out.

Scott Arthur and Neil Williams got Cresselly’s reply off to a great start as they shared 50 runs for the first wicket.

Williams was bowled by Oscar Willington on a score of 6 but that was the only wicket to fall.

Arthur and Chris Phillips shared 84 runs to take Cresselly into the Alec Colley Cup final.

Phillips added to his earlier wickets with a score of 25 not out that included four fours.

Arthur was the star of the innings however, as he hit 12 fours to finish not out on 73.

They will now play the winners of the tie between Neyland and Saundersfoot who play tonight at Carew Cricket Club.

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Serrant-Green signs for Haverfordwest County

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HAVERFORDWEST COUNTY AFC has announced the signing of forward Jack Serrant-Green.

The 27-year-old puts pen-to-paper on a deal that will see him play his football at the Bridge Meadow Stadium for the 2021/22 Cymru Premier season.

Serrant-Green arrives in West Wales having recently played in the League of Ireland for Finn Harps and becomes the Bluebirds’ sixth signing of the summer.

Born in Nottingham, he began his career at Burton Albion, playing for their Under-18s side.

In 2013, he moved abroad to play for Swedish outfit Gottne IF. After two years in the Ettan Norra, he moved around to other clubs like Gällivare-Malmbergets, IFK Umeå, Kiruna FF, Söderhamns FF and Bodens BK.

The prolific striker accumulated a total of 92 goals in 149 appearances during his spell in the third, fourth and fifth tiers of Sweden.

Jack has been assigned the number 15 shirt and is available for sponsorship. If you are interested in sponsoring our newest recruit, please contact r.edwards@hcafc1899.football.

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Pembroke U11s earn first win of season

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PEMBROKE Under 11s earned their first win of the season recently as they beat Lamphey.

Pembroke scored 255-4 while Lamphey could only reach 245-4. Elsewhere in the Under 11s leagues, Narberth beat Haverfordwest.

Narberth U11s (250-5) beat Haverfordwest U11s (231-7)

Narberth: Iddgoda 2/2 & 9, O Johns 3/2, Z Aspurra 2/10.

Haverfordwest: Will D 1/6, Brandon D 2/5, Osian M 1/2, Imogen H 1/2.

The Under 11’s Semi Finals will both be played on Monday July 26.

Hook will host St Ishmaels and Saundersfoot are at home to Llechryd. The winners of the two games will contest the final which will be played at Hook on Monday, August 9.

Under 13’s

Hook (121-2) beat St Ishmaels (34-all out)

Hook: Oscar Willington 27 retired & 3-0, Ifan Williams 25 retired & 1-0, Rhys Phelps 17, William Harries 13 retired, Charlie Holder 7, Edward Johnson 2-6, Callum Nutty 1-6, Harri Evans 1-7

St Ishmaels: Dylan McGuire 4, Alfie Thomas 4, Ethan Dawes 4, Sammy Wilson 1-14

Under 15’s

Whitland (73-5) beat Llechryd (72-6)

Whitland: Charles Bujega 27 not out, Rhys Jones 18, Ethan Ryan 13, Cai lewis 1-3, Dai James 1-12 Cian Rees 1-16

Llechryd: Tomos Lewis 19 & 2-7, Ifan WJ 9, Joe Dow 1-8

Cresselly (28-all out) lost to Lawrenny (29-0)

Cresselly: Charlie Arthur 9, Ollie Arthur 9

Lawrenny: Finley Lewis 17 not out, Will Allen 10 not out, Rhydian Eynon 1-0, Mark White 1-3, Corey Hall 3-9, Noah Williams 5-1

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