Italy target first Championship win when Wales visit Rome

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Neil Jenkins has had his work cut out as kicking coach of Wales this week, and while he primes James Hook and Stephen Jones for a crack at the Italians, the former Welsh great is worried about the Italian threat.

Having come so close to their first ever Six Nations win over Ireland in the opening week, Italy were blown away by England in round two and because of that result they find themselves 4/1 to beat Wales at home on Saturday.

But since running New Zealand close on home soil in 2009, Italy have gone on to win three of their next eight home games, including a victory over Scotland in last season’s Six Nations along with wins over Fiji and Samoa.

Losing to Ireland by two points may have been a blow, but the Stadio Flaminio has become a tough place to visit and Italy have beaten Wales on two of the five occasions the two teams have met in Rome in the Six Nations.

Wales gained a huge confidence boost with the win over Scotland in round two, but while the Welsh showed glimpses of the running rugby they’re capable of, for long periods of the game Wales were made to scrap.

Wales are 1/6 to beat Italy on Saturday but if the game becomes a scrappy affair, Italy are in with a real chance of winning.

The last three Six Nations games at the Stadio Flaminio have produced 29, 28 and 23 points, and the handicap betting offers punters great value with Italy 5/6 to win with a +11.5 start.

The penalty count will have a huge bearing on the outcome of this game but Wales can boast two goal kickers in Stephen Jones and James Hook which can see them to a win by 1-5 points (available at 7/1).

A £25 stake on Italy winning by 1-5 points would return £225. New customers can sign up here for a free bet worth £25.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.