Taine Basham scored a hat-trick of tries for Wales.

Taine Basham Smashes The Italians With Hat-trick Of Tries As Wales Kids Bounce Back

Taine Basham underlined why the Dragons rate him so highly as he guided Wales U20s to an emphatic 42-12 victory over Italy.

The classy No.8 – who has already broken through and made seven appearances for his region – scored a hat-trick of tries in Mantova.

It puts the Wales youngsters back on track after two rounds of their Six Nations and completed a good weekend for Wales as it followed the 26-15 triumph by the senior side in Rome and the gutsy 3-3 draw by Wales Women.

Italy came into the U20 game on the back of a rousing win in Scotland in round one and having beaten Wales in Colwyn Bay in last year’s fixture. Wales had been beaten in France in their opening match.

But they were never threatened in a game that was dominated by Basham as he played nine pins with the home side with his bullocking runs and brilliant performance in the back row of the Welsh scrum.

A brilliant take just outside his 22 and then a run to the Italian 22 by Tomi Lewis set-up Wales’ first chance to attack after only eight minutes. They didn’t score immediately, but when Basham got the chance to attack of the base of a scrum he showed his class.

Despite a strong shove from the Italian eight, which meant Basham had to pick up from a retreating scrum 20 metres out, the Welsh No.8 somehow managed to emerge with the ball on the other side of the scrum before racing to the right corner for a solo try.

Cai Evans added the conversion and was on target again seven minutes later when Basham cut a great line to take the ball off the shoulder of Aneurin Owen before racing to the posts like a runaway train for his second try.

Scrum-half Jamie Hill went off on the half-hour mark with a shoulder problem and was replaced by Dafydd Buckland.

Shortly afterwards, Italian right wing Edoardo Mastandrea was sent to the sin-bin for pushing opposite number Deon Smith without the ball as the Wales wing chased onto a great kick to within five metres of the home line.

Wales ensured they made the most of their extra man and a great first-half performance was rounded off with a try from lock Ed Scragg. Evans once again improved the score to make it 21-0 at the break.

The Italians had come off their defensive line very quickly in the opening half and used the power of their pack to good effect in the second. But the Welsh defenders, particularly Jac Morgan with his foraging on the floor, restricted them to two tries when they threatened many more.

Basham’s hat-trick came three minutes into the second half and was made by a strong drive from the Welsh pack at a scrum five metres out. It looked as though the No.8 was going to control the ball all the way to the line, but at the last minute the ball came out.

He didn’t panic, beat the scrum-half to the ball and drove over for his third try. Evans maintained his 100% goal-kicking record.

The Italians finally opened their account midway through the second period.

They drove Wales back off their ball at a scrum and replacement scrum half Lorenzo Citton sniped down the blindside before sending his wing Michael Mba over for a try in the left corner.

The Welsh response came in the shape of a fifth try for Buckland, as he popped up in support of a midfield break before racing to the line. Sam Costelow, who replaced Evans, added the conversion.

To their credit, Italy scored a second try before the end. It was a piece of brilliance from their full back, Jacopo Trulla, that created the opportunity as he took the ball in the Welsh 22, kicked through and then re-gathered to score a try that Paolo Garbisi converted.

That didn’t stop Wales from finishing with a flourish and once again that man Basham was involved. Somehow he managed to scoop the ball out of a rapidly retreating scrum 35 metres out and Costelow picked up the pieces.

The Leicester Tigers man then used some fancy footwork to break through the Italian defence before passing inside to Ioan Davies who scored at the posts. Costelow’s conversion completed the scoring.

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