Italy 16-24 Wales, Six Nations, Stadio Flaminio, February 26
Gatland pleased with tough victory
ESPNscrum Staff
February 26, 2011
Italy captain Sergio Parisse is upended by Dan Lydiate and Sam Warburton, Italy v Wales, Six Nations, Stadio Flaminio, Rome, Italy, February 26, 2011
Sergio Parisse was a constant threat to Wales © Getty Images

Wales coach Warren Gatland was pleased with his side's effort following a hard-fought victory over Italy in Rome on Saturday.

First-half tries by wing Morgan Stoddart and flanker Sam Warburton underpinned a 24-16 success, while fly-half Stephen Jones kicked 11 points and centre James Hook dropped a late goal.

Italy, transformed from the side smashed 59-13 by England a fortnight ago, pushed Wales all the way, matching them on tries through centre Gonzalo Canale and skipper Sergio Parisse.

"This is a tough place to come to and get a result," Gatland said. "We made it difficult for ourselves in that we conceded a couple of soft tries, but we are very pleased with the result.

"We looked really sharp with the ball in hand at times, although we could have expressed ourselves a bit more in the second-half. Italy are a big physical side, but they played a lot more rugby today and showed how difficult a team they are to beat in Rome.

"They missed a couple of shots at goal, but credit to our guys. They soaked up a lot of pressure and then went upfield and got three points through the drop-goal. Ireland struggled here a few weeks ago, and this game has been a real banana skin for us in the past."

Gatland reserved praise for centre Jamie Roberts and No.8 Ryan Jones, who both produced excellent displays to continue their recent returns to form.

"Jamie carried very strongly," he said. "He is causing a lot of damage, and it is pleasing to see him coming back with confidence. Ryan is playing some of his best rugby. The performances he is producing are pretty much error-free at the moment.

"Ireland is a big game for us coming up in a couple of weeks, and then it's France away. This is a tough competition, but it is about building momentum and confidence."

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