Feb 1, 2014 at 2.30pm UK
Wales
23-15
Italy
Cuthbert (4'), Williams (38')
FT
Campagnaro (43', 67')

Result: Wales's Six Nations title defence up and running

Result: Wales's title defence up and running
© Getty Images
Wales are off to a winning start in their defence of the Six Nations title after seeing off Italy at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales have got their Six Nations title defence off to a winning start by beating Italy 23-15 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The hosts got off to a flying start courtesy of Alex Cuthbert after five minutes. He made the most of an Angelo Esposito error, picking up the ball to score the opening try of the tournament, before Leigh Halfpenny converted to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.

A well-taken lineout from the Italians found Mauro Bergamasco - who was fouled by Dan Lydiate - to give the visitors a chance to get on the board shortly after, with Tommaso Allan kicking over to leave them four points behind.

Italy defended well, restricting the Welsh to minimal chances, although Leonardo Sarto was penalised for offside and Halfpenny kicked over once more to extend the home team's lead.

Halfpenny again converted from another penalty moments later from a tricky angle, squeezing the ball inside the right upright despite slipping during his run-up.

The Italians looked as though they were right back in the contest when they crossed the line courtesy of Sergio Parisse, but replays showed that the flanker had knocked it on.

With the half coming to a close, Wales went up the other end to extend their lead further through Scott Williams, who had space to run into following a Jamie Roberts pass. Halfpenny again converted to give Warren Gatland's men some breathing space at the interval.

Michele Campagnaro managed to get Italy's first try of the match almost immediately after the restart, making a good run which was first reviewed before being awarded by the match referee. Allan converted to leave the match poised at 17-8 with 43 minutes played.

Both sides failed to add to the board after missing penalties, but Halfpenny wasn't to be stopped again when after 67 minutes he kicked over to give Wales a 12-point cushion.

It looked as though it was going to be another comfortable Welsh win on home soil against Italy, but Campagnaro's second try of the afternoon with 10 minutes remaining gave the visitors hope.

The usually reliable Halfpenny tried to find Jamie Roberts, but Campagnaro intercepted the pass before crossing the line to leave Gatland's men looking over their shoulders.

It wasn't to be for the Italians, however, as any hope of a comeback was put to an end by Halfpenny, who made no mistake in making the most of another Welsh penalty to seal the victory.

Wales wing Alex Cuthbert celebrates the opening try during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Italy at the Millennium stadium on February 1, 2014
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