Wales produced a stunning second-half performance to crush Italy by a record margin, but Ireland’s victory in Scotland means the Six Nations title will go to the defending champions or England.
England now have to beat France at Twickenham by 26 points to overtake Ireland at the top of the table, with France already out of contention.
Wing George North raced in for a hat-trick of tries against Italy, as Wales turned a one-point half-time lead into a 41-point winning margin.
Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams, Scott Williams, Rhys Webb and Sam Warburton also crossed. Fly-half Dan Biggar contributed 15 points with the boot.
Italy scored tries through wings Giovanbattista Venditti and Leonardo Sarto, the latter converted in the last minute by replacement fly-half Luciano Orquera.
There was little in a first-half stalemate to suggest Wales could cut loose in the manner they did.
Their front row struggled at the scrums and the backline were prone to errors, as Italy belied the poor form that had seen them capitulate 29-0 to France last week.
Roberts scored a first-half try for Wales, answered by Venditti, with Leigh Halfpenny kicking a brace of penalties which were matched by Kelly Haimona and Orquera, who also converted Venditti’s try.
Biggar took over Wales kicking duties when
after tackling Samuela Vunisa, and his penalty gave Wales a barely-deserved 14-13 lead at the break.
However, the Welsh emerged a different team for the second half, with Liam Williams getting the ball rolling when he touched down after Webb’s quick penalty.
Two minutes later Liam Williams sent North racing over for his first try and when Andrea Masi was shown a yellow card for an early tackle, the floodgates opened.
Wales were were simply irresistible, with man-of-the-match Alun Wyn Jones inspiring a revitalised pack.
North completed his hat-trick in 10 minutes, followed by scores for Webb, Warburton – after a sensational 80-yard move – and Scott Williams, as Warren Gatland’s team made Italy pay for Quintin Geldenhuys’ yellow card.
Sarto’s last-minute sprint down the left touchline ended a run of 47 unanswered points, and the Welsh fans gave their team a hearty ovation before heading off to find hostelries screening Scotland v Ireland and England v France.
15-Luke McLean, 14-Leonardo Sarto, 13-Luca Morisi, 12-Andrea Masi, 11-Giovanbattista Venditti, 10-Kelly Haimona, 9-Edoardo Gori; 1-Michele Rizzo, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini (capt), 3-Martin Castrogiovanni, 4-George Biagi, 5-Joshua Furno, 6-Francesco Minto, 7-Mauro Bergamasco, 8-Samuela Vunisa
16-Andrea Manici, 17-Alberto De Marchi, 18-Dario Chistolini, 19-Quintin Geldenhuys, 20-Robert Barbieri, 21-Guglielmo Palazzani, 22-Luciano Orquera, 23-Enrico Bacchin
15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-George North, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-Liam Williams, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Rhys Webb; 1-Rob Evans, 2-Scott Baldwin, 3-Aaron Jarvis, 4-Luke Charteris, 5-Alun Wyn Jones, 6-Dan Lydiate, 7-Sam Warburton, 8-Taulupe Faletau
16-Ken Owens, 17-Rhys Gill, 18-Scott Andrews, 19-Jake Ball, 20-Justin Tipuric, 21-Gareth Davies, 22-Rhys Priestland, 23-Scott Williams.
Chris Pollock NZL
JP Doyle ENG Luke Pearce ENG
Simon McDowell IRE
Provided by Accenture
Scrums won (lost)
Line-outs won (lost)
Rucks/mauls won (lost)
Kicks from hand
Tackles made (missed)