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Wales v Italy: Grand Slam-chasing hosts to sweep to victory

| 09.03.2012

Wales are the massive 1/33 favourites for this game and it’s hard to see beyond anything other than a convincing win for the hosts.

Warren Gatland’s men remain the only team in the Six Nations who can win the Grand Slam following victories against Ireland in Dublin, Scotland in Cardiff and a narrow 19-12 victory over England at Twickenham.

They have shown fleeting glimpses of their best free-flowing rugby – most notably in the second-half against Scotland – but so far they have rather ground out their wins.

All that should change against Italy.

The Italians have lost all of their games so far in the tournament and, despite solid first-half performances, have fallen apart in the final 40 minutes of all their encounters.

They self-destructed against England, while a lack of creativity in midfield means the solid Welsh backs should have no trouble coping with the minimal threat from Italy.

Wales may be missing captain Sam Warburton but they have more than enough strength in depth to keep up their impressive record at the Millennium Stadium against the Italians.

In their previous six meetings between the sides in Cardiff, Wales have piled on an average of just under 39 points and the closest Italy have come to bagging a win was an 18-18 draw back in 2006.

Wales have never lost in Cardiff against the Italians and, with Italy making seven changes from the side who lost to Ireland, backing Jacques Brunel’s men looks almost impossible – even at 14/1.

So, backing Wales to win this game by 21-30 points – the same margin as the last time they met in Cardiff – looks well worth consideration at 2/1.

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Author

Richard Anderson