Josh Adams scored a hat-trick as Wales eased to a routine 42-0 win over Italy at the Principality Stadium in Wayne Pivac’s first Six Nations game in charge.
Playing in their first tournament game since their fourth-place finish at the World Cup last year, Wales always had too much for the Azzurri, interim coach Franco Smith’s side offering little resistance in a one-sided contest.
It was Adams and fly-half Dan Biggar who accounted for all of Wales’ points in the opening 40 minutes as they effectively sealed victory thanks to the former’s first-half brace.
Nick Tompkins added a try on his debut and, after having one ruled out by the TMO, George North touched down to clinch a bonus point, before Adams completed his hat-trick after the 80th minute.
— Welsh Rugby Union (@WelshRugbyUnion) February 1, 2020
Italy’s indiscipline put them on the back foot in the opening stages and three Biggar penalties gave Wales control.
Wales tightened their grip on the contest with a wonderful opening try of the tournament, putting the ball through hands to send Adams free down the left before the wing finished clinically in the corner.
If that was impressive, the set-up for Adams’ second was nothing short of incredible as Biggar sent him over in the same area of the field with an instinctive pass through his legs.
After missing his first conversion attempt, Biggar made no mistake with the second to make it 21-0 at the interval.
Tompkins raced clear after a superb sidestep for his first international try on the hour mark and Wales did not take their foot of the gas.
North was denied after the TMO spotted a knock-on in the build-up to his 63rd-minute effort, but the centre secured maximum points for Wales when he worked his way over from close range.
There was still time for Adams to provide further reason to celebrate as he came in from the left and barged over to complete his treble in a match that provided little indication as to how Wales will fare in next week’s meeting with Ireland.
Adams picks up where he left off
Cardiff Blues wing Adams lit up the World Cup with seven tries and he now has 14 in just 22 appearances for Wales. He has a strong case for being considered the best wing in world rugby.
Right from the first whistle, Italy were never in the game and the dismay on the face of Smith spoke volumes when North snuck over to make it 35-0.
Key Opta Facts
– Wales have now won eight consecutive matches in the Six Nations, their joint longest winning run since Italy joined in 2000 (W8, 2007-2009).
– Wales have won their last 13 Six Nations games in a row against Italy, their last Championship defeat against the Azzurri came back in 2007.
– Italy have lost their last 23 games in the Six Nations, the longest losing run in the history of the 5/6 Nations, their last win came at Murrayfield against Scotland in 2015.
– Adams is just the second player to score a Six Nations hat trick for Wales (since 2000), North also achieving the feat in 2015 v Italy.
– Adams has scored 13 tries for Wales since the start of 2019, no player from any nation has scored more (Makazole Mapimpi also 10).
– North has become the third player to score 20 tries in the Six Nations (also Brian O’Driscoll 26, Shane Williams 22).
Wales will face a much sterner test from Ireland at the Aviva Stadium next Saturday. Italy visit France a day later.
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