Match Centre: Six Nations: Wales 21-24 Italy

Paolo Garbisi contributed with 11 points
Paolo Garbisi contributed with 11 points
©Photo by Michael Steele - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Wales 21-24 Italy, Principality Stadium

Italy ended their Six Nations campaign with their best-ever finish as they defeated Wales 24-21 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff in the final round on Saturday.

Italy now finished fifth in the competition as they repeated their 2022 victory over Wales in Cardiff. This will also be the first time since 2015 they have finished last in the Six Nations while Wales' disappointing campaign ended with defeats in all the five matches.

After thwarting the early attack from Wales, Paolo Garbisi kicked a penalty goal in front of the posts in the 6th minute to start the proceedings for Italy and he soon doubled the lead in the 14th minute after George North was penalised at breakdown making it 0-6.

Wales tried to fight their way back into the game but a knock on from Nick Tompkins ensured they remained scoreless.

The visitors extended their lead further as Juan Ignacio Brex offloaded to Garbisi , who held the ball long enough to set Monty Ioane over the line but Garbisi missed out on the conversion as they continued to have a 0-11 lead

As the first half progressed, Wales experienced further setbacks. Miscommunication between Cameron Winnett and Sam Costelow resulted in Italy gaining possession deep in Welsh territory. Additionally, Nick Tompkins' knock-on occurred during Wales' most promising attack of the half, adding to their frustrations.

Wales encountered more errors in the second half. Adam Beard's neck roll, following a break from Rio Dyer shortly after play resumed, relieved all the pressure they had managed to build.

The Azzurri continued to dominate proceedings as Ioane burst through and found Lorenzo Pani on his shoulder as he went past Josh Adams to touchdown for their second try and this Garbisi kicked the conversion to make it 0-18.

Wales finally got their first points in the 64th minute as Elliot Dee went his way over after Tomos Williams was carried off and Sam Costelow kicked the extras to bring down the gap to 11 points before Kieran Hardy was penalised for off side with Garbisi kicking a penalty goal to make it 7-21 by the 70th minute.

As Italy extended their lead further with a long range penalty kick from Martin Page Relo, Wales made a late fightback in the game with tries from Will Rowlands and Mason Grady but that did not stop them from losing the encounter by a three point margin. North on his final game of Wales was helped from the field in the closing stages.

Team line up:

Wales XV: Winnett; Adams, North, Tompkins, Dyer; Costelow, Tomos Williams; G Thomas, Dee, Lewis, Jenkins (capt), Beard, Mann, Reffell, Wainwright.

Reserves: E Lloyd, Mathias, O'Connor, Rowlands, Martin, Hardy, I Lloyd, Grady.

Italy: Pani; Lynagh, Brex, Menoncello, Ioane; Garbisi, Varney; Fischetti, Nicotera, Ferrari, N Cannone, Ruzza, Negri, Lamaro (capt), L Cannone

Reserves: Lucchesi, Spagnolo, Zilocchi, Favretto, Vintcent, Zuliani, Page-Relo, Marin.