Welsh Womens U20s suffered a heartbreaking last-minute try to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against USA in their opening Nations Cup clash at Brunel University.
Skipper Elinor Snowsill landed an 11th minute penalty to give Wales a 3-0 lead at the break. Dogged defence ensured Wales held their slender lead until the 79th minute when USA winger Tyra McGrady scooped up a loose pass to run the length of the field to give Catherine Parkhill an easy conversion to give the USA a 7-3 victory.
The defeat will be a bitter pill to swallow as Wales were always in control of the game but an inability to convert pressure into points came back to haunt them.
Lowri Harries and Vicky Owens were prominent up front in the early stages while the centre partnership of Adi Taviner and Ceri Redman also showed up well.
USA were penalised for failing to roll away after making a tackle and Snowsill sent the ball between the uprights to give Wales an early and justified lead.
Wales continued to take the game to USA with Snowsill pulling the strings from fly half. Sioned Harries, Snowsill and Taviner along with Charlie Murray kept the American defence honest but Wales were unable to cross the white-wash.
USA's Erica Cavanaugh was sent to the sin bin in the 58th minute with a high tackle on Rhianydd Morgan but Wales were unable to capitalise while the winger was cooling her heals.
Wales had looked to have done enough to get their campaign off to a winning start but disaster struck in the last minute of play. All Wales had to do was kick the ball dead from a penalty, but with the clock ticking down a quick tap was taken deep into USA territory. The ball was dropped and McGrady pick pocketed the ball to dash unhindered to the try-line to break Welsh hearts.
Wales will now have to pick themselves up in preparation for their next game, against Canada on Sunday. (KO 1.30pm).
Wales U20 duo Leon Brown and Lloyd Lewis face a busy couple of weeks ahead. Not only will they have a Junior World Championship to take part in, they are both sitting A Level exams during the competition.
Wales U20 face a tough group in the Junior World Championship with France, England and Japan lying in wait but Attack coach Jason Strange and back rower Tom Phillips are looking forward to the campaign ahead.
Angus O'Brien has quickly settled into the Wales Sevens squad after solid performances in Hong Kong and Japan. With two rounds remaining in Glasgow and Twickenham on the World Series, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie chats to the rising star.
Wales winger Luke Morgan has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers on the Sevens World Series. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with him on the eve of this weekend's round in Glasgow.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.