Howley praises 'clinical' Wales

Wales interim coach Rob Howley praised his side's finishing during their 26-9 Six Nations win over Italy in Rome.

The visitors led 9-6 at the break thanks to full-back Leigh Halfpenny's penalties at goal.

But centre Jonathan Davies and wing Alex Cuthbert went over for second-half tries to seal a second successive win.

"The second half was all about composure and patience. We were clinical... and took our opportunities," said Howley.

Victory kept Wales in the hunt to defend their Six Nations crown after losing 30-22 to Ireland in their opener and winning 16-6 against France in Paris.

Howley says Wales wanted to play with "tempo, pace and intensity", but were forced into a tactical rethink because of the wet conditions.

"We had to be flexible and change our game plan a little bit," said Howley.

"I thought our kicking game was exceptional, putting Italy back in their own 22 gained a lot of benefits.

"There weren't always going to be opportunities in a game like that and probably the conditions suited Italy.

"But to come away winning 26-9 is something which I would have taken at the beginning of the game.

"The deluge that came in the first half as well [meant] the ball was very greasy and it was difficult under foot."

Wales were on top in the scrums, an area in which Italy traditionally are at their strongest.

That pleased visiting pack coach Robin McBryde, who was delighted in his charges' showing following the difficulties they experienced two weeks earlier against France.

"We knew it was going to be a big challenge in the scrums, and we wanted to take ownership in that area," said the former Wales and British and Irish Lions hooker.

"Fair play to the players. A scrum is a collective effort, and as an eight they stood up and exerted pressure."

Azzurri skipper and tight-head prop Martin Castrogiovanni was sin-binned amid his side's scrum troubles and was uncomplaining in the wake of defeat.

The Leicester player, who deputised for suspended captain Sergio Parisse, said: "We conceded nine points from scrums, which is my problem as well as the team's. I need to work on that.

"The referee is always right. If we had done what we were told and also managed our kicking game better, maybe the referee wouldn't have mattered so much.

"There are no excuses. You need to be perfect in all aspects, but we weren't today.

"I was very honoured to be made captain, but I don't like losing. I hate losing even when I am playing Playstation.

"We didn't really handle some areas very well. There are ups and down in life and today was one of the downs."

Italy coach Jacques Brunel added: "I don't think the problem was our ability to play, we just didn't manage the game very well.

"Wales were a lot more precise than us.

"That was the difference, Wales were more efficient. Our game just wasn't there today."