How Wales rated against Italy

9:25am Sunday 2nd February 2014

By Chris Kirwan

LEIGH HALFPENNY: A shaky afternoon... by his lofty standards. Missed one kick that he’d normally slot in his sleep and picked out Campagnaro to put the Italians within sight entering the closing stages. 6

ALEX CUTHBERT: The finisher supreme finished routinely when gifted an opener by Esposito, his 10th try in 20 Tests and eighth in 11 Six Nations encounters. Wasn’t able to get running with much quality ball after that. 6

SCOTT WILLIAMS: Worked quite nicely with Roberts, distributing some nice ball. Good support line to bag a seventh Test try but whether he starts in Dublin is down to Jonathan Davies’ fitness. 6

JAMIE ROBERTS (STAR MAN): Showed what was missed last autumn by charging into the Italy defence again and again. His power is key to ‘Warrenball’ and it will be a fruitful campaign if he can maintain this form, although Gatland will want to see more offloading. Set up midfield partner Scott Williams by mixing brute force with a lovely line. 7

GEORGE NORTH: Threatening wherever he gets the ball but, like in the autumn, looked shaky in defence. Was lucky to escape when Parisse knocked on from a cross-kick in the first half. 6

RHYS PRIESTLAND: Did pretty well. Got Roberts into the game and nearly made his way over with a jinking run. Enough to keep out Dan Biggar? Probably as he is a Gatland favourite. Some woeful kicking out of hand. 6

MIKE PHILLIPS: A quiet game but Phillips is a big game player. Expect him to be bang up for it against Ireland and his fellow Lion Conor Murray. 6

PAUL JAMES: Didn’t really grasp his opportunity to jump ahead of the injured Gethin Jenkins. Wasn’t as dominant at the scrum as he is at Bath while his work in the loose was ok but not up to Jenkins’ standard. 6

RICHARD HIBBARD: Another destructive display by the Lions hooker, who is sure to become a Gloucester favourite next season with his brutal tackling (10 of them against Italy) and carrying (9 of them against Italy). 7

ADAM JONES: Has struggled for form a bit so far this season and is under pressure with Gatland a fan of Rhodri Jones work rate (rather Samson Lee’s strength, bizarrely). Was solid enough against Italy and will be a key figure in Dublin. 6

LUKE CHARTERIS: Yet to score at Test level and had a golden chance from Priestland’s break only to go for the tackle on Geldenhuys after not realising the ball was loose on the floor. Grafted hard before Andrew Coombs added energy off the bench. 6

ALUN WYN JONES: Led by example by carrying hard 15 times, grafting around the paddock, making his tackles and being the prime source of lineout possession. 7

DAN LYDIATE: Wales’ top tackler, as you’d expect, with 12 but also showed nice hands to create a first half overlap and offered himself as a carrying option. Did enough to keep his spot, which means... 6

JUSTIN TIPURIC: ... may be a victim of Sam Warburton’s return to fitness. Was exceptionally quiet for much of the game before improving late on, but Gatland could well call for his captain against the physical Irish. 6

TOBY FALETAU: Has the breakdown prowess of a flanker with his exemplary body position over the ball winning three penalties at the contact area. Overshadowed by Parisse with ball in hand but that’s certainly no disgrace. 7

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