UserpicItaly v Wales

After the wake up call at the Stade de France a couple of weeks ago, it is difficult to see Wales taking their afternoon out at the Stadio Flaminio on Saturday too lightly. Much has been written about the adverse impact on the ELVs on the Italian side, yet I feel the single biggest factor has not been the ELVs themslves, but the referees' 'directive' to penalize sealing off at the ruck. This makes it much harder to base your game on rumbling upfield ruck by ruck in the way we have come to know and love of the Italian pack. Castrogiovanni dropped. Nieto is good, but even at his best has nowhere near the destructive scrummaging power of Castrogiovanni. It may close at half time, but Wales to pull away in the second half. The only question is whether the largely second choice Welsh pack will provide enough of a platform for Wales to score enough points to stay in contention for the championship. We also better pray Phillips doesn't get injured or we could be down to our fifth choice scrum half for the visit of the Irish.

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