Wales U20 snatch victory from Italy
WORLD U20 CHAMPIONSHIP REPORT: Wales showed grit and determination to win a game that looked, for large parts, beyond them to claim seventh spot in the World U20 Championship with a 25-24 victory against Italy.
Jason Strange's side looked like they were heading for a humiliating defeat when 15-24 down but replacement centre Connor Edwards hauled his side back into the game with a block busting run with his first touch of the championship, which ultimately led to Phil Jones scoring out wide. Arwel Robson's conversion brought Wales to within two points with 13 minutes remaining.
The game swung in Wales' favour five minutes from time when Italy flank Jacopo Bianchi saw red for a high shot on Robson. Jones stepped up to take the penalty and he showed nerves of steel to give Wales the lead - an advantage they somehow managed to keep until the final whistle to secure their second scalp of the campaign.
Italy opened the scoring in the seventh minute when flyhalf Antonio Rizzi eased over a penalty. He then made Owen Lane pay for a tackle that didn't involve any arms and he landed a penalty from inside his own half with ease to double his tally.
Robson halved the deficit three minutes later when centre Marco Zanon was yellow carded for pulling the flyhalf back from a quick tap.
Robson was to the fore in the 29th minute when he danced his way through a posse of Italian defenders on the halfway mark. Jones linked up well and sent long striding second row Callum Bradbury to the try-line unopposed. Robson's conversion put Wales 10-6 ahead and with their noses in front for the first time of the match.
Rizzi clawed back three more points with his third penalty of the afternoon before Wales scored the try of the tournament.
Wales ripped the ball within centimetres of their own line, Robson spotted a gap and put wing Jared Rosser free. He then passed to Lane who flicked the ball inside to Reuben Morgan-Williams who made his way into Italy's half before Rosser took the ball again.
The ball was quickly recycled and Jones chipped over the flat defence and wing Ryan Conbeer collected a perfect bounce and raced over to put Wales 15-9 ahead at the break.
Italy stunned Wales with a try within two minutes of the restart. Robson has a clearance kick charged down and wing Giovanni D'Onofrio picked up the pieces and dived over. Rizzi's conversion put Italy back in front, 16-15.
Rizzi's fourth penalty edged Italy further ahead as Wales became rattled. Wales were down to 14 men as prop Tom Mably was receiving treatment. Italy made the extra man count as Dario Schiabel forced his way over as the game clearly swung in Italy's favour.
Wales got back into the match when replacement Edwards burst through a tiring Italian defence. Quick hands amongst the backs put Jones over. Robson's conversion brought the scores to 22-24 and Wales were scenting blood.
Bianchi's banishment gifted Wales a shot at goal and Jones slotted it to edge Wales home.
Tries: Bradbury, Jones, Conbeer
Cons: Robson 2
Pens: Robson, Jones
Tries: D'Onofrio, Schiabel
Pens: Rizzi 4
Wales: 15 Phil Jones, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Ioan Nicholas, 12 Owen Lane, 11 Ryan Conbeer, 10 Arwel Robson, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 8 James Botham, 7 Will Jones (captain), 6 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 5 Callum Bradbury, 4 Will Griffiths, 3 Kieron Assiratti, 2 Ellis Shipp, 1 Rhys Carre.
Replacements: 16 Owen Hughes, 17 Tom Mably, 18 Steff Thomas, 19 Aled Ward, 20 Syd Blackmore, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Connor Edwards, 23 Cameron Lewis.
Italy: 15 Massimo Cioffi, 14 Andrea De Masi, 13 Marco Zanon, 12 Dario Schiabel, 11 Giovanni D'Onofrio, 10 Antonio Rizzi, 9 Charly Vincenzo Ernst Trussardi, 8 Giovanni Licata, 7 Michele Lamaro, 6 Jacopo Bianchi, 5 Lorenzo Masselli, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 3 Marco Riccioni (captain), 2 Alberto Rollero, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Massimo Ceciliani, 17 Daniele Rimpelli, 18 Dante Gavrilita, 19 Edoardo Iachizzi, 20 Lodovico Manni, 21 Emilio Fusco, 22 Filippo Di Marco, 23 Andrea Bronzini.
Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley (England), Tasuku Kawahara (Japan)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)