The game was the first of two warm up internationals since Phillips took up the reigns two months ago; the other being match against France at the end of March. Wales U18 then go on to the climax of their season, the Four Home Nations Tournament in Gloucestershire in mid-April.
The Wales U18 starting line-up of five Scarlets, four Blues, three Dragons, and three Ospreys had to withstand a lot of heavy pressure in the opening half but well organised defence and committed tackling kept the Italians to a lone try by hooker Marco Moscado (San Dona). Penalties by Brynmawr CS fly half David Langdon and Amman Valley CS full back Dan Evans had Wales narrowly ahead 6-5 at the break but it was a very much different Wales in the second half.
Although Italy took the lead with a penalty from fly-half Ricardo Bocchino (Capitalino), replacement half backs Gareth Williams (Colston's) and Phil Williams (Whitchurch HS) revelled in the increasingly good possession from the line out where locks Haydn Pugh (Coleg Sir Gar) and Jevon Groves (Y Pant CS) were dominant.
With Wales U18's loose play matching their effort in the tight, the Coleg Sir Gar pair of bustling centre Rhys Williams and ever present flanker Nicholas Cudd finished off some fine approach work to put Wales 18-8 up. Wales were now in firm control and the very late Italian try from centre Dan Molinaro (Benevento) took nothing away from a very good Welsh performance.
Italy 13 - 18 Wales
Tries: M Moscado, D Molinaro
Pen: R Bocchino
Tries: R Williams, N Cudd
Con: D Evans
Pen: D Langdon, D Evans
Italy U18: Magri (Coop Noceto); Credo (Conad L'Aquila), Quartaroli (Conad L'Aquila), Chiesa (Bellabarba Livorno), Molinaro (Antares Benevento); Bocchino (HDI UR Capitolina), Fiorani (Benetton Treviso); De Marchi, Moscarda (Orved San Donà), Ravalle (Overmach Parma), Giusti (Colleferro Rugby), Amadio (Ruggers Tarvisium), Maestri A.(Coop Rugby Noceto), Puliti (URC Tirreno), Favaro (Benetton Treviso)
Wales U18: Daniel Evans (Amman Valley CS/Scarlets); Gruff Jones (Wellington College/Scarlets), Rhys Williams (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), Luke Ford (St David's Coll/Blues), Jason Tovey (Cwmcarn HS/Dragons); David Langdon (Brynmawr CS/Dragons), Rhys Webb (Brynteg CS/Ospreys); Ryan Bevington (Porthcawl CS/Ospreys), Ben Roberts (Brynmawr CS/Dragons), Scott Andrews (Y Pant CS/Blues), Haydn Pugh (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), Jevon Groves (Y Pant CS/Blues) Nicholas Cudd, (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets), Jonathan Jones (Brynteg CS/Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Whitchurch HS/Blues)
Replacements (all used) Leigh Halfpenny (Swansea College/Ospreys), Phil Williams (Whitchurch HS/Blues), Gareth Williams (Colston's/Blues); Phil Price (Brynteg CS/Ospreys), Pat Palmer (Y Pant CS/Blues), Huw Dowden (Tonyrefail CS/Blues), Kyle Maiden (Brynteg CS/Ospreys)
Referee: M Sclafer (France)
Man of the Match: Gareth Williams