Wales warmly welcome Italy to the Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium for their opening match of the 2014 Six Nations tournament on Saturday 1st February kicking at 14:30 (Local Time). Both Wales and Italy have convenient reason to expect they can go far way in this competition. Rugby lovers know that the Italians are coming out with their greatest ever result in rugby league while the Welsh have long-standing tremendous history on their side. Italy will be hoping to reproduce the wizardry that saw them defeat Wales in the 2007 competition and earn a hugely creditable draw in 2006. In addition, Wales have adequately won the last six meetings between the two teams. Wales end the campaign by hosting Scotland, while England visit Italy and France are at home to Ireland.
Wales vs Italy 2014 Preview DATE, KICK OFF, VENUE
Date: Sat 01 February 2014
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
Referee: Johnny Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant 1: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant 2: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
Players to watch For Wales:
The Welsh rugby team play rugby as they sing, well sometimes, certainly in their heyday when the likes of Barry John, Cliff Morgan, Phil Bennett, Gareth Edwards and JPR Williams were in the lineup. They will be hoping to prove their standard and eligibility once more with victory in the 2014 Six Nations. Rugby fans saw them to win the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2012 campaign and they piped England to the title in 2013 session.
Players to watch For For Italy:
Italy became the final member of this elite band of Northern Rugby Nations and thus the Five Nations became the Six Nations championship. The Italians managed to avoid the wooden spoon last year in the Six Nations. There is no doubt Italy are improving as a rugby force though. They are favorites to finish bottom of the Six Nations table once again.
Italy have won two of 20 Tests against Wales whereas both victories occurred at the Stadio Flaminio (in 2003 and 2007). The percentage of match winning for wales is 85%.The Azzurri’s 24-3 defeat at the Millennium Stadium last March is the only time they have failed to score a try in their last 12 Tests. The Welsh have won the last five meetings by an average margin of 19 points. they won 31-22 on their only previous visit to the Stadio Olimpico in October 1996.
2011 – Italy 16-24 Wales
2009 – Italy 15-20 Wales
2007 – Italy 23-20 Wales
2005 – Italy 8-38 Wales
2003 – Italy 30-22 Wales
2001 – Italy 23-33 Wales
Italy Elite Player Squad:
Forwards: 15-Andrea Masi, 14-Giovanbattista Venditti, 13-Tommaso Benvenuti, 12-Gonzalo Canale, 11-Luke McLean, 10-Kristopher Burton, 9-Edoardo Gori; 1-Andrea Lo Cicero, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini (capt), 3-Martin Castrogiovanni, 4-Antonio Pavanello, 5-Francesco Minto, 6-Alessandro Zanni, 7-Simone Favaro, 8-Ratu Manoa Vosawai.
Replacements: 16-Davide Giazzon, 17-Alberto De Marchi, 18-Lorenzo Cittadini,19- Quintin Geldenhuys, 20-Paul Derbyshire, 21-Tobias Botes, 22-Luciano Orquera, 23-Gonzalo Garcia.
Wales Elite Player Squad:
Forwards: 15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-George North, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Mike Phillips; 1-Gethin Jenkins, 2-Richard Hibbard, 3-Adam Jones, 4-Andrew Coombs, 5-Ian Evans, 6-Ryan Jones (captain), 7-Justin Tipuric, 8-Toby Faletau.
Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Paul James, 18-Craig Mitchell, 19-Alun Wyn Jones, 20-Sam Warburton, 21-Lloyd Williams, 22-James Hook, 23-Scott Williams.
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC One HD, mobiles and online from 1400 GMT; listen on BBC Radio 5 live, Radio Wales & Radio Cymru; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles; watch again on BBC iPlayer; highlights on Sunday’s Scrum V & BBC Two 2315 GMT