WALES suffered their seventh successive home defeat in the Guinness Six Nations as they ended their 2024 campaign with the dreaded Wooden Spoon.

It was the first time in 21 years that Wales had suffered a whitewash and finished bottom of the pile.

Italy came into the game seeking their best finish after drawing with France and beating Scotland, and got off to a flying start.

Five minutes in and Tomas Williams was trapped on the floor after gathering a kick and Wales conceded the first of eight first half penalties, converted by Paolo Garbisi.

Nick Tomkins is stopped in his tracks
Nick Tomkins is stopped in his tracks. Pic WRU (WRU)

Eight minutes later the Italian fly-half again hit the mark from 35m to double the lead.

And there was little surprise when the Azzurri extended their lead midway through the half when wing Monty Ioane broke clean through to score after some neat back line play.

Garbisi pushed his conversion wide, but it still meant his team led 11-0 at the break.

And things got worse shortly after the restart, when another sweet backline move saw 21-year-old full back Lorenzo Mani weave his way over for a second try, converted by Garbisi for 18-0.

With a mountain to climb, Warren Gatland began to clear his bench as Will Rowlands came on to add some power up front and Mason Grady added pace to the back line.

The first Welsh points came in the 64th minute when Elliot Dee squeezed over after a close-range line-out, Sam Costelow adding the extras.

Tomos Williams
Tomos Williams. Pic WRU (WRU)

But Garbisi then landed a monster penalty from near half-way before his replacement half-back, Martin Page-Relo, added a bigger one two minutes later to stretch the lead to 24-7.

Wales were down but not out, Rowlands powering over from close range with three minutes left before Mason Grady scored in the last move of the match, gathering a Keiran Hardy chip over the top and racing in.

Ioan Lloyd improved both tries, but it was still too little, too late.

Gatland, who is giving a Q&A at Monmouth’s Blake Theatre next month, offered his resignation after the game, which was turned down by WRU chief executive Abi Tierney.

Asked if he can turn things round, he said: “Absolutely. I've never shied away from that. 

"We've had glimpses where we've been really good... We need to do that for longer periods.

"We're hurting... but I can see light at the end of the tunnel because we've got a fantastic group of guys who I know have worked hard. 

"There is a huge amount of inexperience, some haven't played a lot of regional rugby and we're exposing them at Test level.

"It's a real challenge... We knew the inexperience we had in the squad and the players we asked to step up to leadership roles. 

"It's about taking the good out of the games and showing what we need to do.

“We're probably a little bit at rock bottom at the moment but I honestly do see some light at the end of the tunnel. 

"Some exciting players who with some time are going to be excellent internationals."