U18 5 Nations Festival: Wales stage comeback to beat Italy


Wales made it two from two in the inaugural U18 5 Nations Festival as they beat Italy 24-9 in Caerphilly.


That victory followed their nailbiting 31-30 effort over Scotland a few days ago, and sends them into their final game against England, on Wednesday 6th April, full of confidence.


Things did not all go Wales’ way though, they found themselves 6-0 down early on after two Antonio Rizzi penalties for Italy, while Gower College centre Callum Carson was sin binned for Wales.


That Italian lead held right through to the half time break, but Wales came firing out in the second half, showing superior depth, determination, and fitness.


Cowbridge Comprehensive prop, Rhys Carre, who had come on for Josh Reynolds, got Wales on the scoresheet with a try from short range, which Ben Jones of Coleg y Cymoedd converted to give Wales the lead.


That lead extended shortly after when openside and captain on the night, Will Jones of Gower College, crossed the whitewash, with namesake Ben once again adding the extras, turning 6-0 into 14-6.


Italy did land another a penalty, but Ben Jones all but sealed the game with a lovely solo effort, hacking through a loose ball and then tearing away towards the line. That try was then backed up by a final score from Cardiff & Vale College centre, Ben Thomas, confirming Wales second victory at 24-9.


It was a tough evening for Wales though, who when they saw the schedule might have fancied that they had the easier of the two fixtures in this double header. This game was preceded by Ireland v Scotland, with Ireland winning that by a stunning 43-0 socreline. You can see what happened there via this link: Ireland U18 v Scotland U18.


Speaking after that game, Wales Head Coach Geraint Lewis said:


“It’s good to get another win. A lot of the boys got their first taste of international rugby this evening, and the Italians never make it easy for you, they’re a very physical and enthusiastic side. The first half conditions were difficult with the rain and win, the Italians had a lot of possession and territory but the boys showed lots of maturity to come through in the second half, we can take a lot going forward from that.”


“England is going to be very difficult, they haven’t lost many boys from the side we faced a few weeks ago so we’re under no illusions about the size of the task. We know we need to get better but we can take a lot out of the first two games, we know we can improve further from here. It’s great to have some support from your friends, family and neutral support too, hopefully we’ll get a good crowd at St Helens next Wednesday evening to end the Series.”


Full Time: Wales U18 24-9 Italy U18


Wales U18 XV:

15 Carwyn Penny (Clifton College )

14 Corey Baldwin (Llandovery College)

13 Callum Carson (Gower College)

12 Ben Thomas (Cardiff & Vale College)

11 Gethin Gibby (Coleg Sir Gar)

10 Ben Jones (Coleg y Cymoedd)

9 Connor Tantum (Porthcawl)

1 Josh Reynolds (Newport High)

2 Iestyn Harris (Ysgol y Cymer)

3 Christian Coleman (Newport High)

4 Ben Sier (Coleg y Cymoedd)

5 Will Griffiths (Gowerton Comprehensive)

6 Jim Botham (Sedbergh)

7 Will Jones (Gower College, captain)

8 Charlie Davies (Gowerton Comprehensive)

Replacements: 16 Corrie Tarrant (Coleg y Cymoedd) 17 Rhys Carre (Cowbridge Comprehensive) 18 Harri Dobbs (Cowbridge Comprehensive) 19 Rhys Davies (Millfield) 20 Lloyd Pike (Coleg Sir Gar) 21 Morgan Morris (Hartpury College) 22 Dane Blacker (Coleg y Cymoedd) 23 Joe Goodchild (Coleg Gwent) 24 Ryan Conbeer (Coleg Sir Gar).


U18 5 Nations Festival Schedule:


England 15-12 Ireland

Wales 31-30 Scotland

Ireland 43-0 Scotland

Wales 24-9 Italy

Italy v Ireland – Caerphilly, 2nd April, 11.00

England v Scotland – Caerphilly, 2nd April, 13.30

England A v Italy – St Helen’s, 6th April, 17.15

Wales v England – St Helen’s, 6th April, 19.30

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