11 Mar 2012

Wales one step from Grand Slam glory

8:23 am on 11 March 2012

Wales has beaten Italy 24-3 in Cardiff to keep their hopes of a third Grand Slam in eight years alive.

Following three Championship triumphs, Wales were overwhelming favourites to cruise past winless Italy at the Millennium Stadium.

But dogged Italy made life difficult for the hosts despite their abundance of brute force and finesse.

Warren Gatland's men led by just six points at the interval thanks to a hat-trick of penalties from Leigh Halfpenny despite dominating both territory and possession.

Italy continued to disturb Wales but Jamie Roberts raced clear for a break-away try on the hour mark to put Wales in a commanding position in the frustrating victory and man-of-the-match Alex Cuthbert scorched clear at the death to put the result beyond doubt.

The Dragons can now look forward to a Grand Slam showdown with World Cup heartbreakers France in a week's time.

Ireland has beaten Scotland 32-14 in Dublin to all but hand the Scots the wooden spoon.