Defending champions Wales got their Six Nations campaign off to a winning start, but they were far from their best in a 23-15 defeat of Italy.
The win, however, gives the hosts a chance of a Grand Slam and time to get themselves in better shape before they travel to Ireland next weekend.
For Italy it was a familiar story: Their effort was full of heart and endeavour but ultimately fell short. They must go to France next for another tough road trip.
|Wales 23-15 Italy: Scoring Details|
|Cuthbert 4’, Williams 38’||Tries||Campagnaro 43’, 69’|
|Halfpenny 5’, 40’||Conversions||Allan 70’|
|Halfpenny 29’, 67’, 74’||Penalties||Allan 14’|
The Welsh took the lead early through Alex Cuthbert's try after just three minutes, and though they remained in front for the duration of the match they never managed to put Italy away in their Millennium Stadium clash.
It was a moment of sloppy defending, Cuthbert pouncing on a missed take from Angelo Esposito to cross, and Leigh Halfpenny doing the rest to add the conversion.
Italy kept in touch as Tommaso Allan and Halfpenny swapped penalties, but Scott Williams' try on the cusp of half-time ought to have settled the contest.
At 17-3, it could have turned into a convincing win, but Italy were not finished.
Michele Campagnaro struck early in the second half to keep the game alive, chasing down Leonardo Sarto's kick to score.
With a quarter of an hour to play, Halfpenny put another three points between the two sides, but Campagnaro struck again, this time intercepting a Halfpenny pass and racing to the line.
Given Allan's conversion it set up a nervy finale for Wales until Halfpenny's penalty moved the lead beyond a converted try.