The Stadio Olimpico in Rome will host the Six Nations clash

Italy vs Wales Six Nations 2023: Rome hosts colossal bottom-of-the-table clash

What’s at stake and who will be the key Italy threats at the Stadio Olimpico

WALES face off against Italy in the Six Nations in Rome in a crucial clash at the bottom of the Six Nations.

Warren Gatland’s men currently sit bottom of the table having not picked up any points so far. Italy are fifth in the table with one point. Finishing Saturday’s game with no points would give Wales the wooden spoon.

Wales’ main issue in the tournament so far has been their scoring in games. Their 27 points across three games is the least of any team – but Italy’s 94 points conceded is the worst defence.

Gatland has made six changes from the team that lost to England in Cardiff, including dropping Louis Rees-Zammit to the bench. Liam Williams returns at full-back and Rhys Webb is back at scrum-half – his first Wales start since October 2020.

Wales have not finished bottom of the Six Nations since 2003.

Issues with contracts and threats of strikes have underpinned Wales campaign. Warren Gatland admitted before the game that there is still a “significant split” in his playing camp over the strike issue.

“I think that it definitely caused some tension within the group for a couple of weeks,” said Gatland.

“If things do get signed and sorted and we get Welsh rugby back on the right track I think it will be positive for everyone.”

Stood before them are a spirited Italian side who, like Wales, have not won any of their three games so far. They have one point on the board after a narrow loss to France.

Wales have not lost in Rome since 2007, but were beaten 22-21 in Cardiff by Italy in last year’s tournament.

Players to watch: Italy

Tommaso Allan is Italy’s top scorer in the tournament so far. Credit: Sum_of_Marc Flickr

Tommaso Allan

The Harlequins full-back is Italy’s highest scorer in the tournament so far with 16 points. This is the fifth highest of any player. For comparison, Wales entire team has only scored 27 points in their three games. If Allan is given the opportunity to kick, he will cause problems.

Pierre Bruno

Lines up at number 11 and the pacey winger has made 249 metres so far in the tournament. His speed allowed him to score a try against Ireland.

Sebastian Negri

The flanker is an excellent ball carrier, reflected in his 41 successful carries in the tournament. This makes the Zimbabwe-born player the second-highest carrier in the tournament – a list in which no Wales players make the top 10.

The game kicks off at 14.15pm on March 11 before Wales finish their Six Nations campaign in against France in Paris on March 18.