Scott Williams dives over for Wales' second try against Italy
Warren Gatland says Wales will improve as the tournament goes on after watching his side get the better of Italy at the Millennium Stadium.
We were excited about the chance of going for three Championships in a row and it's good to get the first win under our belt
Tries from Alex Cuthbert and Scott Williams and the boot of Leigh Halfpenny guided Wales to a 23-15 win over the Azzurri with Halfpenny kicking two conversions and three penalties.
Michele Campagnaro was named man of the match after his two tries kept Italy in the game. Jacques Brunel's side pushed Wales all the way, particularly in the second half, but when the clock ticked past 80 minutes, the home side had done enough to start their RBS 6 Nations title defence with a win.
"It was a bit stop start at times, we need to tidy up a few things and we need to be a bit more accurate," said Gatland.
"I thought we ran some nice lines and our support was fantastic. There were maybe another couple of chances we could have taken but another week together will be great for everyone.
"You have to give Italy credit. They kept the ball well but there were some positives from our point of view. We scored some nice tries and when we kept the ball in play, I thought we looked dangerous."
After Wales went into the break 17-3 up, it looked like they might pull further clear in the second half. But Campagnaro's double made things interesting with the game in the balance right until the final whistle.
Gatland added: "Italy made it tough for us, they were always going to do that.
"We were excited about the chance of going for three Championships in a row and it's good to get the first win under our belt.
"At the breakdown we have to be more aggressive. We allowed Italy too much possession at times and we need to be more clinical."
Skipper for the day Alun Wyn Jones said: "It was not the fashion we wanted to win in but it was a win all the same. We know how attrititional Italy can be with two Italian teams in the PRO12 and they did exactly that today."
Italy head coach Brunel praised the way his side fought, especially during the second half.
"We are very proud of how the team performed," said the former Perpignan boss.
"We had two main targets and one was to be strong in defence. I can say we achieved that despite making two mistakes. The average age in our backs was just 22 and they should take confidence from this performance."
Captain Sergio Parisse added: "This was the best away game we have played. The way we played is setting a standard of how we expect to play away in the future."
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Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland discusses his team selection for the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations where he leads his side against Ireland, on Sunday. As WRU TV's Luke Brodley discovers, Gatland is fully aware of the challenges the defending champions pose