Jason Strange Says Wales U20s Were Suckered In The Mud

Wales U20s coach Jason Strange branded his team “naïve” after they lost for the first time to Italy on Friday night.

The Italians deservedly earned an 18-7 victory at Colwyn Bay to give them their first win over Wales in 20 attempts, as they mastered the heavy conditions with a powerful forward performance their host could not match.

Strange admitted: “I thought we were quite naïve with the way we played in the conditions.

“Credit to Italy, they fully deserved their victory. But I was disappointed with our first half.

“There are lots of learnings to take from it. It wasn’t through a lack of effort but we just didn’t perform.

“We need to be more adaptable in those conditions and invited Italy onto us. We are looking for a reaction against France next week.”

Tries from Michele Mancini Parri and Matteo Luccardi secured Italy their triumph as Wales lost for the second time in this age-group Six Nations tournament.

Tommy Rogers pulled a try back soon after half time following Mancini Parri’s earlier score, but the boot of man of the match Antonio Rizzi kept Italy ahead.

Despite mounting Welsh pressure it was the visitors who scored the decisive late winning try through Luccardi to seal a famous victory – their first of the 2018 Championship.

Wales faced Italy twice last year, only beating them by a point in the Under-20 Championships in the summer – and the visitors started in fearless fashion.

The driving maul got to work as Welsh ill-discipline plagued them and in the sixth minute it was Mancini Parri at the back who dived over for the score.

Rizzi missed with the extras while at the other end Cai Evans pushed a penalty wide but still the Italians were on top and it was Rizzi who stretched the lead to 8-0 at the midway point in the first half with his first penalty.

Errors continued to hinder the hosts in the tough conditions while skipper Will Jones limped off injured and the Azzurrini went in at the break eight points to the good.

After the interval Wales hit back with a score from Rogers, made by full-back Evans who also added the extras to make it only 8-7 to Italy.

The visitors thought they had responded when Alessandro Forcucci hacked through but the TMO denied him a score and when Andrea De Masi saw yellow it looked like the Italian resistance was over.

But their defensive efforts redoubled, Rizzi kicked another penalty to make it 11-7 and when their full complement were restored it was Luccardi again from a driving maul who sealed the win.

Replacement Enrico Ghigo saw yellow late on as well, but still the Italians held on for their first-ever win at Parc Eirias.

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