Six Nations 2013: Welsh eyes turn to England title showdown
WALES have their eyes firmly fixed on a Six Nations title scrap with England after winning a "gladiatorial" tussle with Italy in Rome.
The 26-9 triumph at Stadio Olimpico keeps alive the prospect that the neighbours will clash with silverware up for grabs in Cardiff on March 16.
England are likely to be going for a Grand Slam after beating France on Saturday and will be fancied to win the title by virtue of a superior points difference, but Rob Howley's side want to keep winning to give themselves something to aim at.
"We just want to make sure we're in that fight on the last weekend," said Jonathan Davies, a try scorer against Italy.
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"We're building and we have to make sure we keep doing that for the rest of the tournament. It was quite a clinical performance.
"Looking back, if we'd started better, we'd have three out of three now.
"Italy was a bit of an arm wrestle and we had to make sure we stayed in it. The forwards were fantastic and gave us a platform. It was a simple game — we just had to make sure we played in the right areas.
"We want to try to get the ball moving, but we had to make sure we kept in that arm wrestle. The work-rate off the ball was fantastic and the defence as well. We can be pretty pleased overall, but it wasn't spectacular."
Davies's try came when he took advantage of some disastrous defending from Italian half-backs Kris Burton and Edoardo Gori.
"Alex Cuthbert called it for Mike Phillips to put it over the top. It bounced fortunately for me and luckily enough I managed to hold on. I'll take it.
"Cuthy took his try really well. To get two tries in a game like that, we're very happy."
Rob Howley now has selection issues for the game with Scotland at Murrayfield on March 9, with Alun Wyn Jones coming through his appearance off the bench. He is pressuring Andrew Coombs for the No. 4 jersey.
Jones played his part in seeing the job through in the Italian capital, taking over from Coombs on 50 minutes and contributing fully to the Welsh cause.
He said: "It was always going to be gladiatorial, if you will excuse the pun being in Rome and all that, but we knew it was going to be like that, especially with the conditions.
"Not a lot of rugby was going to be played, and we knew it was going to take 50 to 60 minutes for anything to come to fruition, and Jonathan Davies got a good try and Alex Cuthbert capitalised on some good go-forward from a line-out, so it sort of went to plan."
Acting head coach Howley said: "As a coach I want selection headaches. In fact, I'm happy to have them.
"I'm just pleased with the effort of the boys.
"The one thing that has really improved is our discipline.
"When you look back, that first half against Ireland was disappointing and it has let us down. But we've come back really well. That self-belief and confidence that we gained against France, we certainly needed against Italy. That was the most pleasing aspect to it."