Wales Under 20 produced a much improved performance to beat Italy 56-6 in Treviso at the weekend, with young Ospreys Ross Jones, Matthew Morgan and Eli Walker all on the scoresheet.
They scored eight tries, gathering a bonus point before half-time to go some way to redeeming themselves from the 92-0 record defeat to New Zealand on Tuesday.
Added to the 34-8 opening victory over Argentina, the victory over the Junior World Championship hosts was enough to guarantee Richard Webster’s side at least a place in the top half of the 5th – 8th place play-offs.
Wales started well with a penalty for Matthew Morgan and a superb try for Blues flanker Thomas Young. After some good build-up work, full back Ross Jones took the ball down the right wing, who passed cleverly to Owen Williams for the Blues centre to put his regional team mate through to score. Morgan hit the left hand up right with the conversion attempt.
There were some errors in the Welsh game in attack and defence and they proceeded to spend ten minutes on their own line with Italy awarded penalty after penalty and choosing to take scrums where they had the upper hand.
However, Wales defended well on the line and finally managed to scramble possession and break out of their own 22.
Despite a drop goal for the hosts for outside half Michele Campagnaro, Matthew Morgan pulled Wales eight points clear with a second penalty before first Ross Jones, then Luke Hamilton claimed tries.
The first came after Thomas Young stole a turnover within his own 22 before centre Rheon James and captain Macauley Cook gained territory for Cook to make the scoring pass to the Bridgend and Ospreys academy full back who raced 45 metres to the line.
Hamilton was underneath a collective forward effort from a line-out shortly afterwards, before Swansea and Ospreys wing Eli Walker grabbed the bonus point try. That try came after Pontypridd and Blues lock Cory Hill won turnover ball in the Welsh half and after the ball went right, Liam Williams put Walker through to run 25 metres to the line for Wales to go in at the break 28-6 to the good.
There was no let up in intensity after the break, Jonathan Evans the first to score after picking up loose ball from the breakdown, Matthew Morgan slotting the penalty. Morgan then showed a piece of class after getting the ball behind his own posts. He passed to Owen Williams who made good ground before giving back to Morgan who had the vision to kick through for Rheon James to score his first try for Wales Under 20. Morgan converted taking the score to 42-6.
Scarlets prop Rhodri Jones showed tremendous strength to power over with five minutes to go, Morgan converting, and Ed Siggery scored the eighth and final try, also improved by Morgan.
Head coach Richard Webster said, “We made a lot of mistakes in the game, we should have been even more clinical, and we have much to work on before our next match, but today was redemption day after Tuesday’s result and we went some way to showing what we are capable of as a team.”
Wales scorers: Tries: Thomas Young, Ross Jones, Luke Hamilton, Eli Walker, Jonathan Evans, Rheon James, Rhodri Jones, Ed Siggery; Cons: Matthew Morgan (5); Pens: Matthew Morgan (2)
Italy scorers: Pen : Marco Gennari; Drop Goal: Michele Campagnaro
Wales: Ross Jones; Liam Williams (Steven Shingler 60), Owen Williams (Iolo Evans 60), Rheon James, Eli Walker; Matthew Morgan, Jonathan Evans (Lewis Jones 62) ; Lewis Smout (Rhodri Jones 44), Kirby Myhill (Jamie Sollis 50), Will Taylor, Macauley Cook (capt,), Cory Hill (Owen Sheappeard 65), Luke Hamilton, Thomas Young, Ben Thomas (Ed Siggery 55).
Italy: M Gennari; G Calabrese, G Alberghini, T Castello, A Morsellino; M Campagnaro, G Palazzini; N Quaglio; G Maistri, P Leso (capt), A Balsemin, F Gerosa, E Ghiraldini, E Ruffolo, J Bocchi.
Replacements: A Lupetti, R Cagna, A L Mammana, R Riccioli, V Callori di Vignale, S Bruni, F Menon