Both sides’ record heading into the clash reads three losses from three but they will be feeling very different about how they got there. Italy have impressed while running the top two sides in the world - Ireland and France - close, whereas a lifeless Wales have barely got out of first gear in losses to Ireland, Scotland and England. There is a real feeling that the Azzurri can follow up their historic victory in last year’s championship that ended a 35-game losing streak in the competition with another win over the men in red.
Kieran Crowley’s troops suffered a blow during the rest week however, with confirmation that electric full-back Ange Capuozzo, who set up the decisive try with his brilliance during last year’s triumph in Cardiff, will miss the rest of the tournament through injury. He had been their attacking sparkplug again so far but Tommaso Allan comes into the No 15 jersey and will provide another playmaking option outside starting fly half Paolo Garbisi.
Meanwhile, Warren Gatland’s scattergun approach to selection continues as he hunts a first win of his second spell in charge. Gatland makes six changes to the starting XV against England as wing Louis Rees-Zammit, full-back Leigh Halfpenny, lock Alun Wyn Jones and flanker Christ Tshiunza are among those omitted. Scrum half Rhys Webb will make a first Test start since October 2020, replacing Tomos Williams, while Rio Dyer is preferred to Rees-Zammit and Liam Williams returns in the No 15 shirt. Elsewhere, prop Wyn Jones, lock Dafydd Jenkins and flanker Jac Morgan also feature but there is no place in the matchday 23 for fly half Dan Biggar.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game
When is Italy vs Wales?
The match will kick off at 2.15pm GMT on Saturday 11 March at Stadio Olimpico, Rome.
What TV channel is it on?
It will be shown live on ITV 1 and STV 1, with coverage starting from 1.25pm. It will also be available to be streamed live on the ITV online platform.
Italy XV: 15. Tommaso Allan; 14. Edoardo Padovani, 13. Juan Ignacio Brex, 12. Tommaso Menoncello, 11. Pierre Bruno; 10. Paolo Garbisi, 9. Stephen Varney; 1. Danilo Fischetti, 2. Giacomo Nicotera, 3. Simone Ferrari; 4. Niccolo Cannone, 5. Federico Ruzza; 6. Sebastian Negri, 7. Michele Lamaro (c), 8. Lorenzo Cannone
Replacements: 16. Luca Bigi, 17. Federico Zani, 18. Marco Riccioni, 19. Edoardo Iachizzi, 20. Giovanni Pettinelli, 21. Manuel Zuliani, 22. Alessandro Fusco, 23. Luca Morisi.
Wales XV: 15. Liam Williams, 14. Josh Adams, 13. Mason Grady, 12. Joe Hawkins, 11. Rio Dyer, 10. Owen Williams, 9. Rhys Webb; 1. Wyn Jones, 2. Ken Owens (c), 3. Tomas Francis, 4. Adam Beard, 5. Dafydd Jenkins, 6. Jac Morgan, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16. Scott Baldwin, 17. Gareth Thomas, 18. Dillon Lewis, 19. Rhys Davies, 20. Tommy Reffell, 21. Tomos Williams, 22. George North, 23. Louis Rees-Zammit
Odds (provided by Betfair)
Italy win: 11/10
Wales win: 4/5