By Huw S Thomas
Wales won the first of their five warm up games for the U19 World Championships which start in Durban at the end of March by beating Italy with considerable ease at Eugene Cross Park Ebbw Vale.
There was very special interest in the game as Italy will be Wales's first opponents in the Junior World Cup and on the evidence of what we saw last night, coach Dai Rees will not be losing any sleepless nights over meeting very limited opponents.
The Welsh forwards with locks Alun Wyn Jones (Llandovery College) and Dominic Dale (Carmarthen Quins), No 8 Tom Smith (Neath Coll) and flanker Rhys Shellard (Pontypridd) in storming form were in almost complete control for most of the 70 minutes,
Behind the scrum David Walsh (St David's Coll) and David Flanagan (Pontypridd) directed things with great composure at half-back, whilst centres Andrew Bishop (Bridgend) and Tom Riley (Pontypridd) were creative, decisive and quick in all they did.
Both wings, Matthew Jeffery (Bridgend) and Chris Czekaj (St David's Coll) had pace and balance in their running and scored two excellent tries apiece in front of an appreciative crowd of over 1000.
Behind them full back Ricky Williams looked an outstanding footballer and adventurous attacker as well as converting four of the six tries, the first as early as the first minute when prop Nathan Trevett bullocked through under the posts.
Wales led 26-0 at the break and looked set to run up a cricket score when following a lovely Riley break, Jeffery ended a sweeping move two minutes into the second half to make it 33-0 with a Williams conversion.
But seven substitutions disrupted the fluency of attacks and although continually on the back foot, the Italians never tired in their tackling led by No 8 Treviso Marco Pelizzani.
But Williams earned his reward by taking a Flanagan pass out wide to get the sixth and final Welsh try two minutes from time and end up with a personal tally of 13 points
"Scotland in a fortnight's time will be tougher" said Team Manager Cledwyn Edwards "but all 22 of the boys showed enough for us to be very optimistic about the future."
Ricky Williams (Llandovery/Scarlets); Matthew Jeffery (Bridgend/Warriors); Andrew Bishop (Bridgend/Warriors) (rep Aled Thomas (Carmarthen Quins/Scarlets 50'), Tom Riley (Pontypridd/Warriors), Chris Czekaj (St Davids Coll/Blues); David Flanagan (Pontypridd/Warriors) (capt.), David Walsh (St David's Coll/Blues) (rep Nicky Griffiths (Wasps/Exiles 50'); Nathan Trevett (Cardiff/Blues) (rep Ian Jones (Ysgol Y Strade/Scarlets 56'), Duane Goodfield (Pontypridd/Warriors) (rep Ed Shervington (Hartpury Coll/Exiles) 8'-11' and 60'), Phil Osborne (Cardiff/Blues) (rep Craig Mitchell (Neath Coll/Ospreys 50'), Alun Wyn Jones (Llandovery Coll/Ospreys), Dominic Day (Carmarthen Quins/Scarlets), Will Waldron (Hartpury Coll/Exiles) (rep
Alex Murphy (Pontypridd/Warriors) 61'), Tom Smith (Neath Coll/Ospreys), Rhys Shellard (Pontypridd/Warriors) (rep Justin Benfield (St David's Coll/Blues) 53')
Michael Cagnoni (Calvisano); Angelo Russo (Benevento) (rep Michele Sepe 44'), Stefano Canale (Benetton), Matteo Pratichetti (Capitolia), Daniele Forcucci (L'Aqulla); Enrico Ceccato (Mogliano) (rep Cesare Marrucci (Capitolina 55'), Alberto Lucchese (Benetton) (rep Jacopo Gobbo (Benetton 28'); Andrea Michelini (Modena) (rep Alberto Chinellato (Benetton 40'), Valerio Vicere (Benevento), Mirko Pettinari (Calvisano) (rep Matteo Muccignat (Udina 65'), Michele Sutto (Benetton), Cristian Benetti (Rovigo) (rep Matteo Muccignat (Udina 51'-58'), Nicola Cattina (Bresca), Marco Pelizzari (Benetton), Simone Lorenzini (Capitolina)
Tries: C Czekaj (2), M Jeffery (2), N Trevett, R Williams Cons: R Williams (4)