venue: The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
6th October 2010
Full Match Report
Gareth Thomas made his first appearance for Wales in Rugby League and his comeback from injury after three months on the sidelines, but played just 25 minutes as a very youthful Wales fell to an experienced Italian side containing a mixture of players from Australia, France, Italy and the UK.
With the important first Alitalia European Cup match in Scotland just days away, coach Iestyn Harris chose not to pick his first choice line up but instead fielded an experimental side with 13 new caps including five players from the Wales under 18 squad who hadn’t even yet made their first senior club appearance.
Thomas made a dream start to his debut, giving Wales the lead on nine minutes. Ian Watson, making his record breaking 27th appearance for Wales set up the try, which Lewis Reece converted. Lee Williams thought he’d followed Thomas over two minutes after the opener, but hit the corner flag when diving for the line.
Italy weren’t going to lie down and forced a goal-line drop-out. They had a chance to score but Thomas was first to a high bomb aimed for Domenico Brunetta and Christophe Caligari. Ryan Tramonte was also close but held short of the line.They finally levelled things on 34 minutes. Following a 70-metre run from Rhys Lenarduzzi, Caligari, the experienced former French junior international was on-hand to ground. Josh Mantellato converted.
Italy put all the early second half pressure on the youthful Welsh line-up and were rewarded 19 minutes into the second period when rising star Ben Falcone scored in the corner. Mantellato did well to convert to put Italy 12-6 up. There could have been a further score but for Reece’s try saving tackle on Raymond Nasso, forcing him into touch.
Lewis Reece looked to have gone over for a score-levelling try with five minutes to go but was pulled back for a forward pass. But there was no way through for Wales against a solid Italian defence and the visitors held on for an historic win with Ben Stewart kicking a final minute drop goal for good measure.
Andrew Gay, Ashley Bateman, Lewis Reece, Gareth Thomas, Lee Williams, Danny Jones, Ian Watson, Gil Dudson, Steve Parry, Ben Flower, Lewis Mills, Jordan Ross, Geraint Davies. Subs: Rhodri Lloyd, Harri Greville, Joe Burke, Chris Davies, Mark Wool, Dafydd Carter, Jack Pring
Dominic Nasso, Josh Mantellato, Rob Quitadamo, Domenico Brunetta, Christophe Caligari, Ben Stewart, Rhys Lenarduzzi, Andrew Kaleopa, Raymond Nasso, Ryan Tramonte, Dean Vicelich, Rocky Trimarchi, Ben Falcone. Subs: Alessandro Cuomo, Marcelo Segundo, Matt Sands, Fabio Nannini, Jonathan Marcinczak, Liam Zollo, Mauro Fusaro.