Naomi Thomas has just enough strength to hold off the lunging Manuela Furlan to score for Wales.
Wales Women slumped to a shock 15-19 defeat to Italy in a Six Nations championship encounter at Bridgend's Brewery Field this afternoon to complete a disappointing campaign.
Wales were firmly in control at halftime, leading 12-0 with Naomi Thomas racing 50m to score from an interception while Non Evans danced over from close range to put Mellissa Berry's side in command.
But the Italians hit back in the second spell and stung Wales with three tries as the home side hit the self-destruct button with basic handling errors and poor execution seeing a number of promising attacks come to nothing.
Italy scored in the fourth minute after the break through powerful second row Flavia Severin who forced her way over in the corner.
Wales regrouped briefly but the game was turned on its head in the 56th minute when Severin powered over from close range for her second try. Fly half Michela Tondinelli slotted the conversion to pull Italy level.
Two minutes later things looked even better for the Italians when Wales full back Mared Evans let a high kick from scrum half Valentina Schiavon bounce and speeding winger Maria Diletta Veronese collected the bounce to storm over from 30m.
Wales rallied with prop Catrin Edwards prominent in the loose with several charges while Berry did her best to rally her troops but retaining the ball became a major area of concern and Italy were more than happy to peg Wales back deep into their own territory with raking kicks from Tondinelli.
An Awen Thomas penalty in the 67th minute pegged back three points to bring Wales within one try of Italy but try as they might, they couldn't get the vital breakthrough.
A bitterly disappointed Welsh skipper was at a loss to explain the loss.
"Going in 12 points up and looking quite comfortable, we only have ourselves to blame," said Berry. "Once again we have pushed the self destruct button. Just like against France and Ireland, we went in comfortable at halftime but for some reason error after error has cost us. We've now got three months to resurrect things before the World Cup."
Wales head coach Jason Lewis echoed her sentiments.
"In the first half it was all us. We had all the territory, all the possession and should have been 20 points to the good to be honest," he said.
"But in the second half we've pressed the self destruct button for the third time in a row, we gave them the game, they didn't win it. We went from a scrum in their 22 to a try under our own posts. We seem to be hell bent on giving the game away.
"We need to take a long hard look at ourselves. The bottom line is a few players put their hands up today but a few didn't. We've got to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves down before the World Cup. We played some good rugby today but we have just got to cut out the errors and learn not to implode."
Wales: Tries - Naomi Thomas, Non Evans; Con - Evans; Pen - Awen Thomas Italy: Tries: Severin (2), Veronese; Cons - Tondinell (2).
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WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
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