Head coach Jason Strange was full of praise for his Wales Under 20 side’s maturity and control as they overcame horrendous conditions, and a power-packed Italian team, to get their Six Nations side off to a winning start.
Their 27-5 win in a rain-soaked Legnano made it eight wins in a row in the Six Nations, and 10 in a row over the Italians, for last season’s Grand Slammers and paved the way for a crack at the reigning world champions, England, in Colwyn Bay on Friday night.
“It was a very mature and controlled performance. There were a lot of nerves before the game with a lot of players making their debuts, but that didn’t show on the pitch,” admitted Strange.
“They fought hard for each other and worked hard throughout. We will learn a lot from this game and then start to focus on England when we get home.
“For Ryan Conbeer to score that try in those conditions was outstanding. He has got a lot of promise and we saw some of that tonight.”
Conbeer somehow managed to squeeze over in the left corner in the second half for the second of three Welsh tries in a move that gave the 2,300 crowd something to shout about. The Scarlets teenager was one of 20 players making their Wales U20 debuts.
It was a performance that earned acting Welsh captain Will Jones the man of the match award from former Wales skipper Gwyn Jones.
“The scrum was a real focus for us because we wanted to take the game away from one of the Italians’ strong points up front. We stuck in there and knew it was going to be a 70 minute match before we broke them,” said Will Jones.
The Italian side scored first with e driving line-out try, and tried to bully Wales of the ball up front, but they failed in their mission – much to the delight of scrum coach Chris Horsman.
“They were excellent. The controlled the conditions, the set-piece went well and the captain led the side superbly – the boys should be very proud of themselves,” said Horsman.
“England next week will be a big test for us. We have a short turn-around, so we have to prepare again and get ready for it.”