There were legitimate complaints from the Wales camp against two vital decisions made by the Scottish officials to deny fullback Martyn Thomas second half tries but in the end the result could have gone their way had Rhys Jones been asked to kick for goal rather than the corner.
Playing as they did in their last outing against France U21; a side a year older than themselves, Wales U20 had a good night at the line out, but a tough time at the scrum. They won enough ball to test the Italian defence time after time, but could only muster two tries in the first half from close range drives.
As for the home team, they used the power of their scrum to good effect, let their outside half rain kick after kick down on the Wales U20 defence and used centre Davide Duca to win the game with his boot. In the end, Duca landed five penalties and a conversion to Jones's three and one.
The return of Blues lock Bradley Davies helped to pep Wales's pack and the Blues lock stole a number of line outs on the Italian throw. The back row of Danny Lydiate, James Harris and Lewis Evans were also prominent.
After an early exchange of penalties between Duca and Jones, Wales grabbed the initiative when Rob Lewis kicked deep into the home 22 and Marcus Johnstone forced the Italians to concede a line-out in their 22. Evans won the line out and Harris broke clear of the driving maul to cross for a try, which Jones converted. From the re-start Wales conceded a penalty which Duca landed and then there was a further exchange of penalties between the two kickers to leave Wales leading 13-9.
Just before the break the Dragons fullback Thomas gathered another high ball to turn defence into attack and his trickery led to a Welsh line out close to the home line. James Down took the ball in and skipper Hugh Gustafson came up with the try to give the visitors a healthy nine point lead.
After the break, Duca almost raced in for a try after picking up a loose pass on half way. If that was a missed opportunity for Italy, they made the most of their next chance five minutes into the second half when Plinio Sciamana ploughed over from a driving maul for a try which Duca converted to cut the gap to two points.
Moments later Wales Coach Dai Rees was mystified at how Thomas hadn't been granted a try after a great forty metre run to the corner. He dived across the line before being bundled into the corner flag, but the referee and touch judge ordered a drop out 22 instead of a try. Jones then kicked his third penalty, but was ordered to aim a number of other eminently kickable chances into the corners.
Two of those chances came after Duca had closed the gap to 21-19 with his fourth penalty success and his match winning effort came shortly after Dragons prop Jim Corsi had been sent to the sin bin. That score came with five minutes of normal time left to play and another thrilling piece of counter attacking play from Thomas could, and maybe should, have led to a match-saving try.
Chasing his own chip over the top in the Italian 22, Thomas was blatantly taken out five metres from the line by an Italian defender as he was hoping to regather the ball and the chance was lost. Wales U20 will now have to pick themselves up before facing England U20 at Rodney Parade on Friday night in order to add a second victory to the runaway success they enjoyed in Scotland.
U21 Six Nations
Italy U21 22 Wales U20 21
Try: P Sciamana
Con: D Duca
Pen: D Duca (5)
Tries: J Harris, H Gustafson
Con: R Jones
Pen: R Jones (3)
Wales U20: Martyn Thomas (Dragons); Alec Jenkins (Llanelli/Scarlets), James Lewis (Bedwas/Dragons), Gareth Maule (Newport/Dragons), Marcus Johnstone (Cross Keys/Dragons); Rhys Jones (Sale Sharks); Robert Lewis (Neath/Ospreys); Hugh Gustafson (Llanelli/Scarlets, captain), Marc Jones (Sale Sharks), Jamie Corsi (Newport/Dragons), Bradley Davies (Blues), James Down (Cardiff/Blues), Danny Lydiate (Ebbw Vale/Dragons), James Harris (Bedwas/Dragons), Lewis Evans (Newport/Dragons)
Replacements: Darren Allinson (Cardiff/Blues) for R Lewis 62; Luke Ford (Wanderers/Blues) for J Lewis 55-59; Jimmy Norris (Bedwas/Dragons) for Johnstone 59