Thursday 18 December 2014

Welsh dreaming of revenge mission

WALES 24
ITALY 3

Published 12/03/2012 | 05:00

They have been waiting in Wales to play France since the moment the curtain came down on a wonderful World Cup campaign and what better way to gain a measure of revenge than by wrapping up a Grand Slam?

For five months the frustration of their semi-final defeat in Auckland at the hands of Les Bleus and anger over the controversial red card shown to captain Sam Warburton has festered.

Next Saturday, the Dragons have the ideal opportunity to unleash that ire and clinch a historic third Grand Slam in eight years, following this nervy victory over Italy.

Wales have been here before in recent years but not the majority of this young team, most of whom only began their international adventure in the past 12 months, among them their giant young wing George North.

"We can't deny the fact we have a Grand Slam game coming up, but we're quite good at blanking out the buzz. We will dig in and train hard and try to treat it as just another Test match," he said. "We'll let our rugby do our talking."

Wales were left frustrated in Cardiff on Saturday by a resilient, if desperately limited, Italian side and a "pedantic" referee in George Clancy.

Having threatened to blow Italy off the park with the opening bursts by North and Man of the Match Alex Cuthbert, Wales were pegged back, giving rise to frustration at not finishing off this stop-start tie far earlier than Jamie Roberts' 50th-minute try which put them 16-3 ahead. Cuthbert's late try then sealed the win.

Irish Independent

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