Defending Six Nations champions Wales were held to an 18-all draw by Italy in Cardiff on Saturday afternoon.
The Italians fought their way back from a 10-point deficit to lead 18-15 before a 58-minute penalty from Welsh flyhalf Stephen Jones levelled the scores.
Italian No 10 Ramiro Pez kicked eight points, but missed three penalties and a drop goal that would have given the minnows victory.
In a game littered with handling errors, Wales led 15-5 after tries by winger Mark Jones and Jones.
Italy claimed tries through fullback Ezio Galon and Pablo Canavosio and led 18-15 early in the second half but Jones’ second penalty prevented them from earning a first away win in seven seasons in the Six Nations.
Italy captain Marco Bortolami hailed the efforts of his team after the match.
“We have to be pleased we got a draw in Cardiff against the Six Nations champions,” the lock told BBC Sport. “We felt that the game was there to win in the second half, but we played 100%, that’s the Italy we want to see.
“Our last game is against Scotland in Rome. We feel that we have been improving game-by-game, our confidence is high and we can win that one.”
Asked whether the off-field distractions surrounding former Wales coach Mike Ruddock had affected the home side’s performance, Bortolami said: “No I don’t think so. Wales played very well but we defended very well. It was a very good match.”