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Gatland: Wales have 'no fear' over tough World Cup pool

Warren Gatland says Wales have "no fear" heading into the World Cup, after they missed out on the Six Nations title on points difference.

Despite scoring a remarkable 47 points in the second half as they claimed a record win against Italy, Wales were pipped by Ireland, who claimed their second championship in a row.

England also overtook Wales on points difference on a dramatic final day of the tournament.

Warren Gatland says he was 'proud' of his side's performance on the final day of the Six Nations. Credit: PA

Attention now turns to the World Cup in the autumn, where Wales face England and Australia in an extremely tough pool.

Gatland is set to announce a World Cup training squad in early June, then an intense build-up will feature training camps in Switzerland, Qatar and Poland, plus warm-up Tests against RBS 6 Nations champions Ireland and Italy.

We won't be going into the World Cup with any fears of not qualifying from our group. There is no fear about playing England at Twickenham or Australia as well, because we know we will be in good shape as long as everyone stays fit and clear of injuries. We can go there with some real confidence and belief that we can get out of our group.

– Warren Gatland

Wales lose out on Six Nations title after Ireland beat Scotland

Wales have missed out on claiming the 2015 Six Nations title after Ireland beat Scotland 40-10 at Murrayfield.

Credit: PA Images

It was all to play for after Wales managed an impressive 61-20 victory over Italy at the Stadio Olimpico.

Wales' triumph meant the Irish needed at least a 21-point win to keep hold of their crown and captain Paul O'Connell wasted little time, bulldozing over for a fourth-minute try.

Sean O'Brien touched down either side of half time, and Jared Payne also scored, with Finn Russell replying for Scotland.

England must now beat France by 26 points at Twickenham to deny Ireland successive Six Nations titles.


At it stands: Wales set England & Ireland tough targets

After Wales thrashed Italy in Rome, all attention now turns to Murrayfield - where Ireland face Scotland, and then to Twickenham - where England face France, on the final day of the Six Nations.

Here's how it stands:

  • Wales - points difference +53
  • England - points difference +37
  • Ireland - points difference +33

So, what Wales' rivals need to do to deny Warren Gatland's side:

  • England - beat France by more than 16 points
  • Ireland - beat Scotland by more than 20 points

Full time: Italy 20 - 61 Wales

Wales scored eight tries against Italy to put themselves in a strong position to claim another Six Nations title, after a simply sublime second half display.

Leading by just one point at half-time, after only Jamie Roberts' try in a poor start in Rome, a devastating period after the break saw Liam Williams touch down and George North score a hat-trick.

George North scored three tries for Wales in a stunning start to the second half. Credit: PA

In the final 20 minutes, after Italy had a player sent to the sin bin for the second time, Rhys Webb bundled over in the corner after a driving maul.

Two minutes later, captain Sam Warburton raced clear to touch down, after Wales put together several passes out of the tackle.

Sam Warburton ran in another trilling try for Wales. Credit: PA

After 72 minutes, Wales got perhaps the best try of the lot, breaking from their own try line, through Jonathan Davies, Gareth Davies and then Scott Williams to score. Biggar kicked yet another tricky conversion to make it 61-13.

There was one final twist, in the final minute, as Italian winger Leonardo Sarto raced away to score in the corner, and dent Wales' hopes slightly.

60mins: Italy 13 - 42 Wales

Wales scored four tries in the first 20 minutes of the second half against Italy, to raise the prospect that they could rack up the points difference needed to win the Six Nations.

The visitors broke through after 47 minutes, when scrum half Rhys Webb took a penalty quickly, and fed Liam Williams to cut through the defence and touch down under the posts. Dan Biggar added the extras to move Wales 21-13 ahead.

Just two minutes later, Williams claimed a kick through and fed George North to race home. Biggar again kicked the conversion to put Wales 15 points ahead.

George North scored a quickfire hat-trick for Wales in the second half. Credit: PA

Alun Wyn Jones then claimed an Italian lineout in the hosts' 22, and Wales fed it wide left, to North, who finished in the corner. Biggar again kicked a difficult conversion

On 59 minutes, North broke weak Italian tackles to touch down under the posts. Biggar kicked an easy conversion.

As it stands, with 20 minutes to play in Rome, Wales' points difference for the tournament is +41, narrowly ahead of both Ireland and England.

Half time: Italy 13 - 14 Wales

Wales lead Italy by just one point at half time in Rome, on the final day of the Six Nations.

All the attention has been on how many points Wales can rack up, but Italy got a try of their own after 24 minutes, when winger Giovanbattista Venditti wriggled through and over the line. Luciano Orquera kicked the conversion to put Italy 13-11 ahead.

Dan Biggar and co. have run into an Italy side desperate to record their first win of the Six Nations. Credit: PA

Leigh Halfpenny then had to be taken off with a suspected concussion, after trying to tackle giant Italian number eight Samuela Vunisa.

Halfpenny needed lengthy treatment after a bang to his head. Credit: PA

In the closing minutes of the first half, Wales twice turned down kickable penalties, but couldn't force the try. They finally did opt to kick a penalty, and Dan Biggar made no mistake, to put Wales 14-13 ahead at the break.


20mins: Italy 6 - 11 Wales

Wales' efforts to record a big points difference against Italy to claim the Six Nations got off to a bad start - as they gave away a penalty within the opening 10 seconds of the game in Rome.

They were penalised for blocking off the Italians when claiming the kick-off, and fly-half Kelly Haimona kicked the points.

Leigh Halfpenny knocked over two penalties for Wales, and Luciano Orquera another for Italy, as both sides were repeatedly penalised early on.

Wales made their breakthrough after 19 minutes, though, when Halfpenny's kick through was gathered by Jamie Roberts to touch down. Halfpenny couldn't kick the conversion from out wide, but Wales lead 11-6 after 20 minutes.

Jamie Roberts got the first of what Wales hope will be many tries in Rome. Credit: PA

Welsh fans criticise rendition of national anthem in Italy

Credit: PA Images

Rugby fans have taken to Twitter to complain of the way the Welsh national anthem was played at the Stadio Olimpico.

Many criticised the anthem for being played too fast that the team and people watching couldn't keep up.

Italy are currently in the lead 3-0.

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