Alun Wyn Jones says Italy is not the place for Wales to blood youngsters

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Wales have been trying to fathom out why they start a series or tournament with the speed of a worn-out tortoise yet finish like an electric greyhound. A trip to Rome would not ordinarily concern a side who have not lost against Italy for 10 years, even with Conor O’Shea injecting the Azzurri with his effervescence, but coming first up the focus is on winning, not on running amok as they did in the final round of the 2015 Six Nations at the Olympic Stadium.

Since Warren Gatland took charge of Wales at the end of 2007, they have won four of their nine opening matches compared with seven on the final weekend. They have lost five times in Cardiff in total during that period, three of the defeats coming on the first weekend of the Six Nations. The one previous occasion they began in Rome, in 2003, they lost and at home to Italy at the start three years ago they laboured to a 23-15 victory.

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