Wales v Italy Sat 14:30
Ahead of leading out Wales for the fourth time this weekend, Gethin Jenkins has spoken of his desire to taste victory for the first time as skipper when his team host Italy on Saturday afternoon as heavy odds on favourites with Bluesq, after their demolition of Scotland at the Millenium Stadium in their previous game.
With Sam Warburton injured, Jenkins is more than happy to step in as captain, but he would dearly love to end a worrying trend of defeats when he has taken the armband.
Speaking about his record so far, the prop said: “Three out of three I have lost. Hopefully, on Saturday, we can turn that around.”
“That was the first thing I thought of when Gats [Wales coach Warren Gatland] asked me – to break that duck. There are a lot of leaders in the team and squad, and I haven’t really done too much different to what I have been doing the last couple of weeks.”
“It makes a massive difference when you are winning games. It makes training that much more enjoyable, and also it makes you want to keep improving and keep building on that momentum.”
Wales have won all three 2012 Six Nations contests so far – beating Ireland, Scotland and England – and Jenkins is hoping that the winning habit continues against Italy at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
As for the Italians, they have lost all three games so far with a particularly heavy defeat at Ireland last time out. They have their work cut out too improve their record of just one Six Nations victory on the road though.
Looking at the head to head record between these two, Italy have won just twice in 18 meetings with neither of these coming in Wales. The closest they have come to an upset in Cardiff was an 18-18 draw in 2006.
As Wales look to go from strength to strength in front of their passionate fans, George North will reach a significant milestone this weekend. He will become the first teenager in rugby history to win 20 caps.
There is no doubt that Wales are overwhelming favourites for this one, but Italy’s Marco Bortolami has spoken of his team’s desire to make a ‘big impression’ in the early stages.
It should be a tough encounter with both sides with impressive packs, but there is no doubt that the Welsh will want a victory to set up a potential Grand Slam showdown with the French at the Millenium Stadium on 17th March.
This one gets underway at 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon.