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Abolish Bracchis' business rates! RHODRI MORGAN COLUMNIST

IREFERRED last week to the infamous "fixed" game in the 1978 World Cup when the hosts and eventual winners Argentina needed a hatful of goals against Peru to get out of the group.

They won 6-0 but it was all a fix between the two military dictatorships.

Well, we now need a hatful of points against Italy in the lunchtime kick-off game today, preferably around 40 or 50, to put the pressure back on Ireland and England in the 2.30 and 5pm games.

So what could Wales come up with as a sweetener to persuade Italy not to strive over-zealously to stop Wales scoring the half-a-dozen tries we need? I've racked my brains. All I could come up with is that Finance Minister Jane Hutt should abolish business rates on Bracchis.

Carwyn could subsidise free flights from Cardiff Airport to Parma.

You could throw in the abolition of VAT on frothy coffee and ice-cream as well, but VAT is not devolved and it's too late now to get that into George Osborne's Budget.

Mind you, George Osborne's budget was a bit of a rag-bag.

A cynical commentator observed that it had something for every regional newspaper across the UK to latch onto.

Tidal Lagoon for Swansea (or at least talks about it!), a City Deal for Cardiff (talks again), VAT abolished on Severn Bridge tolls, but not till 2018. Lots of blobs of jam strewn across the map of the UK, but all jam tomorrow.

Anyway, back to the Six Nations. The best thing about the Wales win over Ireland was that it was a result determined by the rugby played by the 30 players, not a dodgy refereeing decision.

I wish I could say the same for the Six Nations as a whole tournament.

The reason Wales are so far behind on points difference at the start of today is that the referee in the Wales-Scotland did not red card Finn Russell for the tip tackle on Dan Biggar.

Both the Disciplinary Panel and the Appeal Panel said it should have been red not yellow.

If it had been red in the actual game, Wales would probably have won by 40 points, as happened in the corresponding 2014 fixture after Stuart Hogg was red-carded.

All water under the bridge now. Italy will tackle their hearts out but they may run out of steam around the hour mark.

When the likes of Scott Williams and Justin Tipuric come on, the Italian defence may struggle to cope with real guile and rugby nous.

The last 20 minutes could be quite tasty!

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 21, 2015
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