Josh Adams scored a hat-trick when Wales beat Italy 42-0 in last year’s Six Nations

Guinness Six Nations: Italy v Wales
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Date: Saturday, 13 March Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and online; Live text on the BBC Sport website and app; Watch highlights online.

Wales will complete a Six Nations Grand Slam – their second in three years – if they beat Italy on Saturday and France the following weekend.

Victory against England secured Wales their fifth Six Nations Triple Crown – and on each of the previous occasions they have sealed the Grand Slam.

Wayne Pivac’s side have been clinical in attack and resolute in defence and start as overwhelming favourites.

Italy’s loss to Ireland extended their winless run to 30 Six Nations matches.

The Azzurri have conceded 139 points and 19 tries in their three games this year.

Wales scrum-half Kieran Hardy injured his hamstring against England, and will be replaced by Scarlets colleague Gareth Davies in Rome.

The other change to the Welsh starting line-up sees lock Cory Hill replace Adam Beard, who is rested.

Lloyd Williams and Jake Ball have been named as replacements, with the latter in contention to win his 50th cap.

Italy welcome back scrum-half Stephen Varney, who was also selected to start against Ireland but withdrew after being injured in the pre-match warm-up.

The only other alteration to the back line sees wing Mattia Bellini replace Luca Sperandio, who is ruled out by a head injury.

There are three changes in the pack, with lock Niccolo Cannone and props Danilo Fischetti and Giosue Zilocchi all starting, meaning Marco Lazzaroni, Andrea Lovotti and Marco Riccioni drop to the bench.

There are also recalls for Oliviero Fabiani, Marcello Violi and Edoardo Padovani, who are named amongst the replacements.

Wales lead the Six Nations standings from France, whose game at home to Scotland was postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak in their camp

Commentator’s notes

Sara Orchard: It is unthinkable Wales will lose to the Italians, who have been convincingly beaten in the first three rounds and continue to fuel the Six Nations relegation debate.

Arguably the result will be best judged by Wales’ defence and discipline, with tries aplenty already assured in the Rome sunshine.

View from both camps

Italy head coach Franco Smith: “We are meeting our goal to improve our performances, to become more and more competitive match after match.

“Every week together, staff and players, we work hard to win.”

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac: “There are two very important games to go, and it is about getting results.

“Don’t expect us to be throwing it around willy-nilly. We have got a job to do, and we have got to get on top of this Italian side before you see any of that sort of razzle-dazzle.”

Line-ups

Italy: 15-Jacopo Trulla, 14-Mattia Bellini, 13-Juan Ignacio Brex, 12-Carlo Canna, 11-Montanna Ioane, 10-Paolo Garbisi, 9-Stephen Varney; 1-Danilo Fischetti, 2-Luca Bigi (captain), 3-Giosue Zilocchi, 4-Niccolo Cannone, 5-David Sisi, 6-Sebastian Negri, 7-Johan Meyer, 8-Michele Lamaro

Replacements: 16-Oliviero Fabiani, 17-Andrea Lovotti, 18-Marco Riccioni, 19-Marco Lazzaroni, 20-Maxime Mbanda, 21-Marcello Violi, 22-Federico Mori, 23-Edoardo Padovani

Wales: 15-Liam Williams, 14-Louis Rees-Zammit, 13-George North, 12-Jonathan Davies. 11-Josh Adams, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Gareth Davies; 1-Wyn Jones, 2-Ken Owens, 3-Tomas Francis, 4-Cory Hill, 5-Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 6-Josh Navidi, 7-Justin Tipuric, 8-Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: 16-Elliot Dee, 17-Rhys Carre, 18-Leon Brown, 19-Jake Ball, 20-Aaron Wainwright, 21-Lloyd Williams, 22-Callum Sheedy, 23-Uilisi Halaholo

Match facts

Head-to-head

  • Wales have won 26 of the 29 all-time meetings, losing two and drawing one.
  • The Welsh have won the last 15 meetings.
  • A 16th consecutive victory would represent Wales’ longest winning run against a particular opponent, overtaking a run of 15 straight victories versus France from 1908-1927.

Italy

  • The Italians’ last Six Nations win came away to Scotland in 2015.
  • They have lost 19 successive home matches in the Six Nations since beating Ireland 22-15 in 2013.
  • Franco Smith’s side have conceded 41 penalties in this year’s Six Nations, a joint high with England, including nine at the scrum – which is at least four more than any other side.
  • The Azzurri have made 15 line breaks at this year’s Championship – only Wales, with 13, have fewer.

Wales

  • Wales have won five of their last six matches, losing the other.
  • However, they have lost six of their last seven away games, ending a six-match losing streak when they beat Scotland 25-24 last month.
  • The Welsh are the only side yet to receive a yellow or red card in this year’s Championship, and have gone 14 Six Nations matches without such a punishment.
  • They last had players sin binned in the Six Nations against Italy in 2018, when Liam Williams and Gareth Davies were both yellow carded.

Match officials

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Touch judges: Pascal Gauzere (France) & Christophe Ridley (England)

TMO: Tom Foley (England)