Tears flow as Italy beat Wales to end Six Nations win drought

In the final encounter of the 2022 campaign, it appeared like the Azzurri were ready to suffer their 37th consecutive loss in the event, as reigning champions Wales led 21-15 in the 79th minute thanks to a converted try by Josh Adams.

However, fullback Ange Capuozzo’s magnificent breakaway and pass resulted in a try for wing Padovani, who had the foresight to run under the posts to make the conversion simpler for Paolo Garbisi.

The flyhalf then made no mistake with the game’s last kick, eliciting jubilant emotions among Italy’s players and spectators at the Principality Stadium as the Azzurri celebrated their first Six Nations victory since a 22-19 victory over Scotland in 2015.

“It’s just unreal,” Italy captain Michele Lamaro told the BBC.

“I couldn’t believe it, I want to stay with my family and team-mates and celebrate with them because we deserve it and we worked so hard to get here.

“It’s the first step of our long process that we just started.”

The flanker added: “Capuozzo is the superstar of our squad right now and that last try was amazing.”

Padovani had earlier kicked two penalties and Garbisi three on a sun-drenched day in Cardiff as Italy, whose future in the Six Nations has been repeatedly called into question, celebrated their first win on Welsh soil. Defeat meant Wales ended this edition with just one win – over Scotland – from five matches.

And the reverse dulled any Welsh joy at veteran lock Alun Wyn Jones, recalled from shoulder surgery, extending his own world record for most Test caps with a 150th appearance for Wales and flyhalf Dan Biggar winning his 100th cap.

Italy took a deserved 6-0 lead through a Garbisi penalty and Padovani’s long-range effort from 48 metres out.

Wales hit back just off the half-hour when, after wing Louis Rees-Zammit burst clear, the ball was recycled by Owen Watkin, with the centre going over for a try.

Biggar converted but Garbisi’s second penalty nudged Italy into a two-point lead.

Padovani made Wales pay for their indiscipline once more with another long-range penalty as Italy led 12-7 six minutes before half-time.

Italy, strong at the scrum and deploying an effective kicking game to counter Wales’ blitz defence, almost had a try before the break but Capuozzo knocked on after Wales’ Johnny McNicholl was unable to gather Garbisi’s high cross-under challenge from Monty Ioane.

Nevertheless, against all predictions, Italy were five points ahead at half-time.

Wales, however, regrouped at half-time and a powerful close-range maul allowed hooker Dewi Lake to level the scores in the 52nd minute with his first Test try, with Biggar’s conversion putting the hosts two points ahead.

Italy were far from finished. Capuozzo, recovering the ball in his own in-goal area and found Ioane, also behind the Italy try-line.

The wing set off on a blistering run and Wales, within a matter of seconds, conceded a penalty in front of their own posts.

Garbisi duly obliged and Italy were back in front at 15-14.

Wales dealt what seemed a cruel blow to Italy’s hopes with a third try.

Josh Navidi won a turnover on half-way, prop forward Wyn Jones charged towards the Wales 22 and the ball then came to Adams, with the wing surging past several Italy defenders for a converted score.

Wyn Jones almost added a third try but referee Andrew Brace ruled he had been held up over the line.

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